When the Ebola was hitting West Africa in 2014, many people could not get access to the latest information from the government and the messages are always confusing.
The BBC was using its impact to create a WhatsApp account, providing audio, text and images to help citizens in the affected countries to get the latest public health information. In addition to radio, TV and internet, people could get the information three times a day via instant messaging in French or English.
BBC World Service has reached many countries around the world, including African countries. It is good to see that the news outlet is being responsive to deliver the information to the people’s daily lives. No matter what people were doing, they would see the push notification of WhatsApp on their mobile phones to remind them about the Ebola situation after subscribing to the Ebola service.
Some people do not install news app on their smartphones, but most of the people has installed WhatsApp for chatting with friends. Using WhatsApp as a way to deliver news is a very smart way to integrate the news to people’s lives.
In addition to delivering the information from the BBC, people can act as citizen journalists to send what they observe in the neighbourhood back to the BBC via WhatsApp. Everyone can be a journalist in this sense. On the other hand, the BBC can benefit from getting the latest situation from the area where no BBC reporters were sent.
The details of using the Ebola WhatsApp service can be found in the following link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29573964