*WINNER* Communicating Corona: How Science Can Harness New Media during a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a major challenge to public health and the field of technical communication across the globe: how can medical experts quickly and effectively convey their highly specialized knowledge in ways that instruct, inform, and persuade non-specialists when infection rates are rising? In Germany, two instances of new media—a podcast series titled “Das Coronavirus-Update” and the YouTube channel “maiLab”—demonstrate how scientists can quickly engage audiences and thereby have a major impact on public health. Informed by central principles of technical communication, such as purpose, audience, and situation, this project investigates the ways in which this podcast and YouTube channel successfully build trust and rapport while still managing to impart scientific knowledge in a professional, impactful, yet accessible manner. Although each genre features scientists sharing their hyper-specialized knowledge, these modern forms of communication manage to effectively instruct and inform their audience by considering the audience’s needs and the special circumstances surrounding the production of the medium. This project was created for a Directed Studies in German course with a focus on Technical Communication in the age of COVID, where I use my Technical and Professional Communication skills to explore how Germany handled the pandemic.