KETC, the public television station in St. Louis, MO, is using social media to keep its audience informed about H1N1. Specifically, it has put a blog front and center on its H1N1 page. Dale Berenc, KETC’s director of education and community engagement, explained to me why the station is blogging and what it’s learning.
When the mortgage crisis began, KETC experimented with blogging as “a way to get information out to the community” during critical situations, Berenc said. The station’s mortgage-crisis blog (which is still up and running) “proved highly successful,” she told me. It generated lots of audience comments and drove traffic to KETC’s site.
So when swine flu emerged, Berenc said it was a no-brainer to create another blog “as part of an overall strategy to connect people to information on-air, online, and in the community.” To get started, KETC “convened a group of community organizations that have a stake in H1N1,” she explained, to solicit advice on “how to connect people to trusted resources.” The group included people from the city and county health departments, regional school districts, the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and the American Red Cross, St. Louis Area Chapter. Using their input, the station created a Wordpress site and started a group blog. KETC’s web coordinator vets posts written by staff, interns, and the Red Cross.
Although KETC doesn’t have stats yet on the success of the H1N1 blog, Berenc assured me that the station will continue it until H1N1 is no longer an issue. She believes the H1N1 page as a whole is “a prime example of what happens when public media organizations collaborate with trusted partners — the community wins.”
The Flywheel turns faster and faster - When we began to wonder how to use TV and an issue as a Social Object - to convene and help a community - we spent months finding our way. It was all new - we had absolutely no idea what to do or what would work.
Now with many such projects done and the most recent with 60 plus stations in over 30 markets (Facing the Mortgage Crisis) it took a few days to start our work on Flu.
Not only did we know more - but we knew more people - many in the flu project are in the Mortgage Project such as 211 (United Way)
Of course as we expand here into the community health arena - we will be able to know more things and more people - making the next project in health even better.
Watch this space!