Putting Facts over Fears When It Comes to Understanding the Coronavirus Pandemic
As the coronavirus known as COVID-19 spreads through Michigan communities, so does confusion and concern. People are navigating a complex pandemic in isolation, heightened anxiety, and uncertainty.
Now, WKAR Public Media presents "COVID-19: Answers and Insight," the first in a new series of television specials examining issues faced by Michigan residents in this uncertain time. The series will be hosted by Shawn Turner, a professor of practice in strategic communication at Michigan State University's College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
Leading Communication in a Time of Uncertainty
Turner works as an national security analyst for CNN, and he is the former director of communication for U.S. National Intelligence. He teaches a course devoted to crisis communication, CAS 833, at ComArtSci.
"It can be overwhelming to sort through the volumes of information related to the spread of the virus and what we should be doing to protect ourselves," said Turner. "The purpose of the show is to bring the most relevant and useful information directly our viewers here in Michigan."
"COVID-19: Answers and Insight" airs in the capital region on WKAR-HD (Ch. 23.1) Thursday, March 26 at 9:30 PM ET (check local listings). It will also will be available at that time for on-demand viewing in the free PBS App on streaming devices and smart TVs, and at video.wkar.org.
An expert on crisis communication, Turner also hosted a webinar for the Strategic Communication Online Master's Program. In the webinar, which is available online, he outlined key principles of effective crisis communication that organizations can put into practice.
Airing Remote Guests for Public Safety
In the 30-minute special, program host Shawn Turner anchors a roundtable discussion with experts to examine today's health crisis and provide the public with the information it needs.
"Our objective is to connect the experts on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, to viewers who have questions and concerns about what the spread of the virus means for their health, their safety and their livelihood," said Turner.
Guests will appear on the show via remote conferencing services, as WKAR original productions follow current social distancing best practices and limit on-site personnel as required under essential staff only restrictions.
Promoting Access and Seeking Public Questions
"Not everyone has access to the 24-hour cable news networks or broadband internet service, and even for those who do, the volume of evolving information can be overwhelming," said Turner. "I think this show is important because it gives viewers a place to turn for clear, concise, and up-to-date information that helps them understand how to protect themselves, and reassures them that we’re all in this together."
WKAR wants to hear questions and comments about COVID-19 from people across the state of Michigan. WKAR is accepting submissions of questions and comments, for possible inclusion in this and upcoming specials.
For updated guest information and additional air times, visit the series page at COVID-19: Answers and Insight.