Using News Media for Humanitarian Aid

Suggested Speakers

For refugees, fake news can mean the difference between life and death. Internews CEO Jeanne Bourgault explores solutions.

Session Description

Jeanne Bourgault, CEO of the non-profit Internews, has captivated her audiences with her stories, experience, and achievements. For 35 years, Internews has supported independent media and freedom of expression with their work in over 100 countries. This session on the application of news media to humanitarian aid explores the work of Internews to identify, troubleshoot, and apply news-based solutions in conflict areas. Given the current media climate, Ms. Bourgault’s session is a timely study on the challenges of building and disseminating reliable news.

Ms. Bourgault will guide participants through Internews case studies, such as the refugee crisis, and demonstrate the results of creative applications of news media. With the increase in refugees, confusion and panic, fueled by a dearth of reliable news has meant the difference between life and death for many displaced persons. Internews implemented a methodology called Rumor Trackers to tamp down on the flurry of false information and put reliable information in the hands of those who need it. Working on the ground with trusted sources, Internews’ research dispelled conflicting and false reports about immigration, travel routes, and safe areas.

Ms. Bourgault’s session walks participants through the challenges faced by news media – from creating reliable sources, to getting news to civilians. As many outlets start to re-think these questions, the experiences of Internews will provide valuable answers.

How does your submission contribute to the diversity of the conference?

From the Central African Republic, to Ukraine, Internews has found the places that need reliable news the most, and has been at the forefront of building strong, truthful media. Jeanne Bourgault brings these experiences and the people they have affected into her speaking engagements and will open up the conference to consider news media, and its applications around the world. From major cities, to the farthest village, Internews finds the creative solutions to strengthening populations with information. The organization represents hundreds of places and millions of faces that have benefitted from the gift of reliable news. Ms. Bourgault’s session will broaden participants’ perspective on why we need reliable information and how we share it with people. Internews has had the experience of working with other countries to build and disseminate credible news and offers that valuable experience and perspective to the participants of ONA. Of course, Ms. Bourgault also offers the unique perspective of being a woman, not only in the leadership of her organization, but also as a leader in her field. As an organization, Internews focuses on the inclusion of traditionally excluded groups, including women and minorities, in all of their work.

What will your audience have gained by the time your session is over?