As the global community marked the anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, students in their first semester multimedia storytelling course at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University produced a series of audio public service announcements designed to persuade their peers across campus to continue wearing masks, frequently washing hands and social distancing.
Kim Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, incorporated the idea for students in his classes that are offered online this spring because of the virus. The PSAs aired on WNAA-FM 90.1, A&T’s radio station.
“The PSAs could not come at a better time,” said Smith. “Health experts are worried about coronavirus fatigue and gains made at curbing the spread might disappear. The PSAs reinforce the safety measures.”
The PSAs are based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, as well as health communication research on how best to persuade the public to wear masks, wash hands and social distance.
A study conducted by researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill revealed the most persuasive PSAs are those framed around positivity and “I care about you, we are in this together” messages.
“Another factor is that the messages come from students who are experiencing some of the same coronavirus challenges as their fellow students,” said Smith. “Students’ voices, which convey their concerns over the virus, add to the messages’ credibility and appeal. Who can better relate to an A&T student than a fellow Aggie?”
You can listen to and download those PSAs here.