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Bird flu journalist training

Funder: Unicef
Period: 2008

This media training project was designed to encourage newspapers, television and radio stations to help educate and inform the public about the dangers of bird flu and how they can protect against it.

Our objectives
1. Provide the public with vital information about bird flu.
2. Train journalists and programme makers on how to cover bird flu effectively.
3. Provide the public with a chance to question experts about bird flu.
4. Train the media to understand the importance of promoting participation in the programme, which also helps them build their own audience to improve sustainability.
5. Train the media to understand the importance of repeating messages to help the audience hear, absorb and react to public awareness messages.
6. Provide the stations with a training kit, so other staff can learn about bird flu and ways the media can help (this kit included a manual and CD featuring examples for them to study).

What we did
The objective of these sessions was to ensure the participants adopted high standards of journalism and had access to the information they needed to learn about bird flu themselves as well as providing them with sources to quote in pieces they produced for their newspaper or station. 

The curriculum was designed bearing in mind responses to previous similar UNICEF training courses in which journalists requested assistance gaining access to research establishments and increased journalism content. 

The final day of the training was spent assisting the participants to produce articles and items for broadcast to provide hands-on experience of putting the journalism guidance and tips into practice. 

As the objective of the training was to raise public awareness about bird flu, OTMI signed a MoU with participating media to print and broadcast the items produced.

What we achieved
Sixty-four media outlets participated in the training and public awareness initiative. Overall this project generated an estimated $800,000 worth of media coverage in Sumatra, about protecting against bird flu.
Although each station had agreed to broadcast 25 public service announcements (PSAs) and one interactive phone-in programme – most stations went way beyond this requirement, resulting in:
  • 3,110 PSAs/promos broadcast
  • 47 hours of interactive phone-in programmes broadcast
  • 54 newspaper articles published.