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UNESCO, Knight Centre, WHO partner on a webinar for journalists covering COVID-19 vaccines

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The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and UNESCO Chair in Communication is organising an open webinar to support journalists deepen their understanding and coverage of the COVID-19 immunisation.

Organized in partnership with UNESCO with funding from the European Union, and the World Health Organisation, the webinar will feature journalists, medical experts, and researchers offering insights related to the vaccination development and rollout.

Primarily geared towards journalists and media practitioners, the webinar will be held on January 29, from 9: am to 12 p.m. U.S. Central Standard Time – UTC -6), in English and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic simultaneously. Recordings in Chinese, Hindi, and Russian will also be available shortly thereafter.

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Independent and professional media play a crucial role in helping citizens acquire and understand relevant information for life-impacting decisions. Over the coming months and year, they will have a massive task to fact-check complex issues linked to the COVID-19 immunization process, and to tackle widespread disinformation on vaccines. We hope that this webinar and upcoming initiatives will support journalists in this endeavor and ultimately help citizens access crucial information.

Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO
WHO’s partnership with the media during this pandemic has been critical in helping us communicate lifesaving information to the public. As we and our partners launch a global vaccination drive, this partnership becomes even more important. We are pleased to once again team up with the Knight Center for Journalism and UNESCO on this webinar and upcoming MOOC. We understand, respect, and support the role of journalists in communicating scientific, evidence-based information about vaccines and public health measures that keep the world safe and save lives.

Gabriella Stern, Director of Communications at WHO
This webinar will be an incredible resource for journalists from around the world who are trying to understand the ever-evolving implications of the COVID-19 vaccines. It will explore how journalists are covering the vaccines globally, and offer up helpful information about the science behind the vaccines and the logistical challenges of vaccine distribution. We hope journalists will come away with newfound ideas, inspiration, and insights that they can apply to their coverage.

Mallary Tenore, Associate Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
The webinar on 29 January will be broken into three, one-hour panels, each of which will be moderated by renowned health and science journalist Maryn McKenna.

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From 9 to 10 a.m. CST, five journalists will share their experiences covering vaccines internationally:Speakers include science journalists Andre Biernath from Brazil, Federico Kukso from Argentina, Kai Kupferschmidt from Germany, and Yves Sciama from France.

From 10 to 11 a.m. CST, key scientific developments behind the vaccines will be explored by the World Health Organization’s Kate O’Brien and coronavirologist Angela Rasmussen.

From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST, the logistical challenges of vaccine distribution internationally will be examined, including socioeconomic challenges. This panel will also explore misinformation and disinformation. Panelists include Scott Ratzan from CUNY’s School of Public Health, and Josh Michaud from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The webinar is part of the many COVID-related training opportunities that the Knight Center has offered since the outbreak of the crises, in partnership with UNESCO and WHO. A massive open online course on fact-checking and disinformation in times of COVID-19, is available in Spanish, Portuguese, and Guarani. The MOOC is being produced under the project “#CoronavirusFacts, Addressing the ‘Disinfodemic’ on COVID-19,” which is implemented by UNESCO and funded by the European Union. In March 2021, the Knight Center will hold another multilingual MOOC that will focus specifically on COVID-19 vaccines coverage.

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