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Title: “Cada día cuenta”: un estudio de caso en Portugal sobre la comunicación relativa a la Covid-19 en el ámbito municipal
Authors: Oliveira, Hernâni
Keywords: Literacia em Saúde
Estratégia Municipal
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: García R. R. & Serra C. C
Citation: Oliveira H. Z. & Lima, H. (2021), “Cada día cuenta”: un estudio de caso en portugal sobre la comunicación relativa a la Covid-19 en el ámbito municipal, (Eds. García R. R. & Serra C. C.) Libro de actas del Congreso ORBICOM 2021 Congreso y Reunión Internacional de la Red de Cátedras Unesco en Comunicación, Madrid, Editorial: Fórum Internacional de Comunicación y Relaciones públicas p. 143-147
Abstract: Early months of 2019 were the beginning of a pandemic that rapidly spread worldwide due to globalization features, but also because of lack of preparation from health authorities, either international organizations or governmental rulers. The absence of reliable information on the disease prevented the adoption of preventive measures in order to constrain an epidemic phenomenon. Europe became the epicenter of the disease with high rates of infections and deaths that shocked the world. In spite of the first wave of Covid-19 steadily gained different countries, Portugal somehow escaped the overwhelming numbers reached in different European regions. In the Portuguese case, the first wave of Sars-Cov-2 was marked by global good communication results. This preliminary study on TV news consumption underlines that lockdowns a new family routine made people rely mostly on television news (Cabrera, Martins & Férin, 2021). Portuguese news channels made an appropriated coverage that was based on Public Health sources, Government sources and validated information, by crossing scientific and medical experts. This kind of news content achieved the goal of public reliance and additional frames of explanation on how the disease would spread. The messages were well accepted, which generated the following by the population of the guidelines of sanitary cautions and social distance. This resulted in very low cases and death rates. However, Summer of 2020 was a turning point in terms of general public behavior in Portugal. There was an excess of social interactions, this regard the climbing number of cases and mortality, and a general neglect in preventive behaviors. There was also multiple factors in terms of communicating the health crisis, namely ineffective institutional messages and crisscrossed information from medical and scientific sources. In top of that, there was the spreading of misleading and fake news that replicated false assumptions on the disease, risks and death rates, among others. This new stage matches the concept of infodemic, proposed by the World Health Organization, as “too much information, including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak. It causes confusion and risk-taking behaviors that can harm health”. On that note, multiple channels in communication combined by divergent sources and disparity in discourse facilitates the infodemics ideal environment. In the absence of a strong public message endangered by this false information, new public perceptions arise. Lack of confidence, excess of news and information generates exhaustion and a greater openness to social media impacts (Gallotti et al., 2020). Facing the unprecedented situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, public officials at the municipality-level have no clear benchmarks or tested policies. With the advance of the epidemic and the aggravation of the infodemics, the scientific evidence turned out to be limited to guide the local government. In this situation, decision-making became a controversial process (Ito & Pongeluppe, 2020). A Portuguese municipality with around 30,000 inhabitants began to receive reports of risk behaviors in schools after lockdown was suspended, especially among teenagers. With the need to produce a strategy that involved these adolescents, the municipality worked in parallel with researchers in the field of communication to produce the campaign “Every Day Counts”. We had two main purposes with this study: a societal achievement, by developing new awareness strategies to increase preventive behaviors; and a scientific goal, related with the effectiveness and the impact of target-oriented communication via local government. Using participatory design tools, students from all schools in the municipality were invited to develop a transmedia campaign in the form of a Manifesto for other municipalities. With this, the intention was to combat the paternalistic tone of the usual health education campaigns, and to spread the concept of Public Health Agent, through the dissemination of a message of responsibility to students from other municipalities. Participatory sessions were organized in online meetings called "Ideas Lab", with brainstorming and consensus techniques and the presence of students, teachers, scientists and civil protection elements. These sessions were used to: (i) discuss the moments and places where there is greater breach of safety rules in the school context; (ii) map the best communication strategies and formats to combat this problem; (iii) develop key messages for teenagers. The Manifesto was developed based on three complementary products: an animated film that tells the story of a teenager who recognizes the pain of loss, so that it can be widely disseminated nationally; a set of physical billboards and posters featuring characters from the animated film, distributed throughout the city as a way to create local impact; the production of a set of bracelets with a key message identical to the one used by the animated character, and the organization of a photo session with participating students, to feed social networks and enhance the campaign's global impact. To this Manifesto it was also possible to associate a personality from a national radio station, which strengthened the campaign and made it viral on social networks. These new products were replicated in 7 municipalities, and the participants integrated in the project showed high levels of motivation and willingness to participate in further initiatives.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:GES - Artigos em Livros de Actas/Proceedings

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