Regular engagement with print and online journalists was a key part of IMA’s strategy for disseminating campaign messages. Changing day-to-day feeding and hygiene behaviors at the household level was one of the campaign’s important goals, and to achieve this IMA targeted its television spots primarily toward parents and other caregivers. But another critical goal was to gain commitment from key stakeholders and decision makers in the public and private sectors—a very different type of audience—to address stunting through public policy. This is where the journalists were most effective.
Training and Engagement
From the start of the project, IMA planned and budgeted for regular training and engagement of journalists at the national, regional and local levels. Given the general public’s misperception of stunting, IMA recognized that journalists would need training in order to disseminate accurate information. Initially and frequently throughout the campaign, IMA provided orientation and training for journalists to increase their knowledge and awareness about stunting and its causes and effects, the importance of nutrition, sanitation and hygiene and the need for keeping these issues high in the media agenda. In total, the NNCC trained 230 journalists at the national, provincial and district levels.
IMA also developed a relationship with the Indonesia Association of Journalists and regularly participated in forums to keep stunting as a media priority. The IMA project team also continually invited journalists to meetings, group trainings and field visits with government officials to keep them engaged. These field visits proved to be a successful way to promote awareness around stunting as well as to share updates on campaign activities. Also at the field level, the project allocated a small budget to provide stipends to local journalists to ensure they could attend project activities.
Engaging journalists early and often not only ensured that they had adequate understanding of the issues, but it also kept the campaign top-of-mind in a dynamic news cycle. As a result of these efforts, print and online journalists produced a remarkable 534 articles in the two years that the program actively engaged them—an average of one article every business day.