Users worldwide are facing uncertainty regarding the coronavirus which has changed everyday life considerably within just a few weeks. DW is responding to the situation with several new social media offerings which will be launched this week. DW’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube in many languages are currently experiencing high viewing figures, showing trust and an increased global interest in DW’s independent reporting.
It can be comforting to think that all countries hit by the coronavirus crisis seem to be in this together. Everywhere, people are asking themselves questions such as: How do you maintain peace in the family if you are suddenly spending 24/7 together? How can social distancing be implemented without causing a feeling of loneliness? The English-language web series #InThisTogether with DW reporter Kiyo Dörrer explores these issues that concern everyone at the moment. It will be published on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and shortly translated into other languages.
The format provides tips for the new everyday life, based on the findings of international experts and the experiences of users in many countries. In the first issue, Dörrer talks to Romain Charles of the European Space Agency (ESA) about his Mars500 mission, which involved him and five other volunteers simulating a stay of more than 500 days on planet Mars. Professor Rima Styra from the University of Toronto reports on her research on the psychological impact of individual isolation during the SARS pandemic in 2002/03. Users can send videos to the editorial team and ask questions using the hashtag #InThisTogether.
COVID-19 special on TV and YouTube
German and international experts, mainly scientists, will analyze a wide range of pandemic-related topics in the daily COVID-19 special which will be broadcast on DW’s English-language TV channel as well as on the DW News YouTube channel. The first issue deals with the so-called herd immunity, among other topics. A report shows how biotech company Qiagen is adapting to the high demand for its newly developed quick test for the coronavirus. The importance of home office for the working world in the future is also being examined. Additionally, experts from other continents will elaborate on the respective situations their regions are facing.
In times of uncertainty, the need for positive, constructive news increases for some people. Users will be offered some “bright spots”, i.e. short pieces on Facebook or Instagram, social card or video to lighten the mood. Two examples are a spontaneous flashmob of applause for hospital staff or citizens singing together on their balconies.
DW Director General Peter Limbourg praised the creativity and stamina of the employees of Germany’s foreign broadcaster: “I’m impressed by how fast efficient models for a new form of teamwork have been created in this difficult situation. These enable our colleagues, most of whom are working from home now minimize the risk of contagion, to ensure a comprehensive range of information for our users around the world.”