“COVID -19: Rapid Response”

In the context of the state of emergency declared because of the new coronavirus, the Public Journalism Club initiated the COVID -19: Rapid Response” project, the implementation of which was supported by Open Society Foundations – Armenia.

The program aimed to raise public awareness about the coronavirus and the new situation emerged as a result of it. It targets public health, social responsibility, human rights, civic responsibility, cooperation between the state and the public, and so on. This program, which differed by its innovative character, consisted of several components.

  • Documentation component (film production) – In the process of making the documentary, PJC conducted interviews, research, and studies in the fields of healthcare, education, economics, media and information technology. The focus was on the points of view of experts in the field, the opinion of the beneficiaries, the description of the actual situation, and the presentation of one’s own experience.
  • Informative component (public awareness) – PJC developed several ways to ensure public awareness. The program created several types of media products: webinars, discussions, posters, social media challenges. The webinars were based on a number of key topics that have become more up-to-date and have increased demand for them, such as psychological topics that have supported the participants and followers to overcome psychological stress and barriers emerged as a result of emergency, isolation, and self-isolation. There were some webinars related to maintaining one’s own health. Several webinars were devoted to the topics of fact-checking, information verification, media literacy, and critical thinking. The posters presented tips for refraining from the virus, such as “Stay at home”, “Don’t kiss”, “Animation tips”.

Within this component, a chatbot service was also developed that supports users in a bilingual (Armenian-English) system by answering their questions, including news, official publications, statistics, health advice, and more.

The PSAs created by PJC were part of the public awareness component. Many actors, singers, human rights activists, doctors, children, and citizens of the Republic of Armenia took part in the process of creating PSAs, thus making it available and accessible to all groups of the society. PJC paid special attention to inclusiveness and provided simultaneous sign language translation in its PSAs.

  • Data collection component (information collection) – This component was implemented to collect all the products on a common platform, where the chronology of events, happenings, and the news is placed. It is constantly updated and introduces visitors what has happened in Armenia since the day the coronavirus spread, in chronological order.

This program, aimed at mitigating the spread of the new coronavirus in Armenia, maintaining public health, living more comfortably and adaptively in this environment, and overcoming existing barriers, has targeted the entire population of Armenia with its multifaceted approach. It kept the pulse of information flow in the center of attention, presenting the necessary and the required information, ensuring the stability of the transitional phase of this period of changes.

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