The large-scale infection of COVID-19 has led to a significant impact on lives and economies around the world and has had considerable impact on global public health. Social distancing, mask wearing and contact tracing have contributed to containing or at least mitigating the outbreak, but how public awareness influences the effectiveness and efficiency of such approaches remains unclear. In this study, we developed a discrete compartment dynamic model to mimic and explore how media reporting and the strengthening containment strategies can help curb the spread of COVID-19 using Shaanxi Province, China, as a case study. The targeted model is parameterized based on multi-source data, including the cumulative number of confirmed cases, recovered individuals, the daily number of media-reporting items and the imported cases from the rest of China outside Shaanxi from January 23 to April 11, 2020. We carried out a sensitivity analysis to investigate the effect of media reporting and imported cases on transmission. The results revealed that reducing the intensity of media reporting, which would result in a significant increasing of the contact rate and a sizable decreasing of the contact-tracing rate, could aggravate the outbreak severity by increasing the cumulative number of confirmed cases. It also demonstrated that diminishing the imported cases could alleviate the outbreak severity by reducing the length of the epidemic and the final size of the confirmed cases; conversely, delaying implementation of lockdown strategies could prolong the length of the epidemic and magnify the final size. These findings suggest that strengthening media coverage and timely implementing of lockdown measures can significantly reduce infection.