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Knight Center to host webinar on COVID-19 vaccines coverage, in partnership with UNESCO & WHO

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin is holding a free webinar aimed at helping journalists deepen their understanding and coverage of the COVID-19 vaccines.

The webinar, which will take place on Friday, January 29, from 9 a.m to 12 p.m. U.S. Central Standard Time (UTC -6), will be held in partnership with UNESCO and the World Health Organization and funding from the European Union. The webinar will feature three panels led by journalists, medical experts, and researchers who will offer insights on immediate issues of relevance related to the COVID-19 vaccination development and rollout.

Registration is now open and available here. While geared toward journalists and media practitioners, the webinar is open to anyone interested in learning more about the vaccines.

COVID vaccine webinar banner

The webinar will be held in English and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic simultaneously. It will be live-streamed to YouTube in all five languages and a recording will be available in each language immediately after the fact. Recordings in Chinese, Hindi, and Russian will also be available shortly thereafter.

“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,” said Mallary Tenore, Associate Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

“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,” Tenore said.

The webinar will be broken into three, one-hour panels, each of which will be moderated by renowned health and science journalist Maryn McKenna, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Human Health, Emory University.

  • From 9 to 10 a.m. CST, we’ll hear from five journalists who will share their experiences covering vaccines internationally. They’ll discuss what constitutes good vaccine coverage and will share related best practices. 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, we’ll explore key scientific developments behind the vaccines, with an eye toward helping journalists understand the global significance of these developments. Speakers include the World Health Organization’s Katherine O’Brienimmunologist Purvi Parikh, and coronavirologist Angela Rasmussen.
  • From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST, we’ll examine the logistical challenges of vaccine distribution internationally, including socioeconomic challenges. This panel will also explore misinformation and disinformation as it relates to the vaccines. Panelists include Josh Michaud from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Scott Ratzan from CUNY’s School of Public Health.

“Independent and professional media play a crucial role in helping citizens acquire and understand relevant information for life-impacting decisions,” said Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO. “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.”

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. We have just launched a massive open online course on fact-checking and disinformation in times of COVID-19, available in SpanishPortuguese, 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 MOOC that will focus specifically on COVID-19 vaccines coverage. The MOOC will be held in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, in partnership with UNESCO and the World Health Organization, with funding from the European Union. More details will soon be available on the Knight Center’s online learning website, JournalismCourses.org.

“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,” said Gabriella Stern, Director of Communications at WHO. “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.”

We hope you’ll take advantage of our upcoming training opportunities, beginning with the January 29 webinar on COVID-19 vaccines coverage. Registration is free and open to all.

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