BBC World Service
Overstating the profound public service of the BBC World Service’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is practically impossible. The region is home to almost a quarter of its global audience – 10 million listeners in English alone. The World Service took that into account, along with its knowledge of how people use their mobile phones, when it devised a plan to use not just radio but apps, Twitter, Facebook, every iteration of modern media at its disposal, to deliver not only its traditional news and documentaries but basic, useful information aimed at limiting the spread of the deadly virus. Innovations included the development of a BBC Ebola Service on WhatsApp, the most popular chat medium in West Africa, to deliver information direct to people’s mobile phones in French as well as English, and collaborations with tech companies and aid agencies to provide subscribers with two or three “push alert” messages daily. Residents of West Africa, from church leaders to schoolchildren, as well as aid workers were given opportunities to describe how Ebola was affecting their lives. For a creative, consequential response to a global crisis, a multi-platform approach that was sustained even when the epidemic wasn’t making headlines, the BBC World Service’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak receives a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producers: Bill Ries, Soloman Mugera. Producers: Trushar Barot, Ann Busby, Carinya Sharples, Andree Massiah. Reporters: Esau Williams, Akwasi Sarpong. Editors: Steve Titherington, Peter Horrocks.