Simon Davis on Haiti: Content in a Crisis


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Editor for online news and social media Simon Davis on the work he and his team at the Department for International Development did during the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

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  • Simon intro: editor for news and social media at DFID\nDFID is the part of the British Government that delivers aid to poor countries and helps respond to humanitarian disasters\n
  • NB World hadn’t seen a disaster on this scale since the Boxing Day tsunami of 2005 – i.e. before Twitter and YouTube existed and Facebook was only available in US universities.\n
  • Not a carefully planned comms strategy – an evolving one!\n
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  • Simon Davis on Haiti: Content in a Crisis

    1. 1. Simon Davis
    2. 2. Content in a crisis  The Haiti earthquakeThe UK Government’s digital coverage of its international reliefefforts Picture: UNDP / CC BY-NC-ND
    3. 3. The crisis in contextOn 12 January 2010, Haiti – one of the poorest countries in thewestern world – was hit by a massive earthquake, the worst in overa century.More than 230,000 people died and 1.5 million were lefthomeless.Within an hour of receiving reports about the disaster, the BritishGovernment’s humanitarian team was helping with relief efforts. Picture: NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center / CC BY-NC
    4. 4. Key comms aims• Show the immediate and ongoing impact of UK aid• Be the authoritative voice of the British Government• Inform the public alongside aid workers and news makers• Convert short term interest into longer term engagement Picture: / CC BY-NC
    5. 5. Key comms challenges• Timescales – need hands on, around the clock operation• Materials – new content required quickly and smartly• Access – content and coverage from the ground essential• Buy in – harness all the help you can get Picture: DFID / Ed Hawkesworth / CC BY-NC-ND
    6. 6. Approach and tactics• Work with what you’ve got – draw on available content• Work with what others have got – talk to your partners• See what more you can get – a supply from staff in the field• Be creative with what you can get – think behind the scenes Picture: DFID / Ed Hawkesworth / CC BY-NC-ND
    7. 7. Maps: © Rémi Kaupp,CC-BY-SA & MapAction
    8. 8. Content and channelsImmediate coverage• Updates from the ground – rolling news, Twitter• Pictures of the impact – Flickr photos & YouTube video• Experts behind-the-scenes – blogs from our own staff Picture: DFID / CC BY-NC-ND
    9. 9. Pic: UK Fire Service, CC-BY-NC-ND Video: ITN News
    10. 10. Content and channelsOngoing engagement• Coverage continues – beyond the media spotlight• Real life stories – case studies of the people we help• Progress reports – multimedia features one year on Picture: DFID / Russell Watkins / CC BY-NC-ND
    11. 11. Picture: DFID / Russell Watkins
    12. 12. What next?• Digital staff ready to deploy to the scene of disasters• Interactive content could offer an immersive understanding• New digital platforms are directing a better response
    13. 13. Picture: / CC BY-NC
    14. 14. Thank you@ContactSimonLinks…DFID’s digital coverage of the Haiti earthquake doing digital at DFID York Times’ panaromas of Port au Prince interactive experience of the earthquake response