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Our work with journalists and news publishers around COVID-19

By Amrita Tripathi

All across India, journalists and news organisations have been working around the clock to keep us informed about the pandemic. At Twitter, we’re working with the media to ensure the latest and most critical information about COVID-19 reaches your timeline, in your language of choice, and in an easy-to-consume format.

Publishers have been using Twitter to educate people with the facts about COVID-19 and ways to navigate this crisis by connecting us directly with the experts. 

The team at Editorji has launched an interactive series called #AskTheDoctor in partnership with us. Anchor, Vikram Chandra, invites people on Twitter to Tweet with the hashtag so that India’s leading doctors, virologists, mental health experts and epidemiologists can answer their most pressing questions about vaccinations, testing, anxiety and stress or at-home care. The daily live program engaged millions of viewers in its debut week, and received praise from the medical establishment and viewers.

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National broadcaster Doordarshan live-streams their daily show called #DoctorsSpeak on Twitter, where doctors answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19, including those via Tweets using the hashtag.

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Other broadcasters producing dial-in shows with experts demystifying the disease, are  sharing  important highlights with audiences on Twitter, like this episode by the news team at NDTV around vaccine FAQs.

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Or, this series by CNBCTV18 around how vaccines work titled, #CNBCTV18VaccineExplainer

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And tips about how to cope when a family member tests positive for COVID-19, and other videos from India Today.

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Leading news organisations like The Times of India and The New Indian Express publish Twitter Moments regularly to update the public with critical information, such as tracking the daily number of cases, updates from experts, and what is allowed in Lockdown for example.  

Other publishers including The Indian Express, The Hindu, Aaj Tak, Jagran News, as well as Tamil news publishers PTTV and Vikatan, also produce special video content explainers and Twitter Threads and Twitter Moments, while The Hindu and The Quint have also shared Twitter Lists of their health journalists tracking COVID-19.

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The IFCN-certified fact-checking digital news organisations BoomLive and Fact Checker.In are sharing critical explainer threads and videos via live and recorded video interviews with leading public health experts. The content tackles FAQs and specific concerns like, when do you need to seek medical help, everything you should know about COVID-19 mutations, whether those recovered from COVID-19 can get medical insurance cover, and more.

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To make it easier for audiences to find this content, our dedicated event page is aggregating all of this content on a daily basis from news organisations across the country, in English and Hindi, all in one place. Audiences can also browse curated videos on the carousel, highlighting key messaging around COVID-19 from multiple publishers, including Aaj Tak, DD, Boom Live, CNBCTV18, Thanthi TV and more added daily.

Beyond news publishers, we are also working independently with journalists. Last week, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, we hosted a Twitter Space to understand the impact of this crisis on the media with editors of digital platforms from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Guwahati. The conversation centered around the importance of local journalists - who often have the most insight about realities on the ground - but rarely get the attention they deserve. This was part of a global campaign to #FollowLocalJournalists.

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More broadly, we also want to highlight the work we are doing to improve the way publishers and journalists can monetise their content on Twitter. Apart from the Amplify Sponsorships programme, the team at Twitter has been working to build a better model for independent journalists and writers. Those who create and consume news know that reading – and more broadly, journalism – deserve a better future.

Just last week we announced the acquisition of Scroll. Scroll has built a way to read articles without the ads, pop-ups, and other clutter that gets in the way, offering people a cleaner reading experience. We also recently acquired Revue, a service that makes it easy for anyone to start and publish editorial newsletters. Stay tuned for more.

To all the journalists, reporters and news publishers, the diversity of your voices, your insights and your perspectives are an integral part of what makes Twitter a service that millions of Indians are relying on in these times. Thank you for all that you are doing at this difficult time - stay safe.

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Amrita Tripathi

‎@amritat‎

Head of News Partnerships, Twitter India

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