JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – According to Jefry S., Head of Public Relations Information Services Sub Department of Surabaya City Government through written answers received by PR INDONESIA on Friday (20/3/2020), the communication aspect becomes very important in responding to Covid-19. Moreover, this pandemic is a type of crisis that has widespread impacts on society. "This crisis does not only occur on a city scale but also regional, national, even global," he said.
In general, the Surabaya City Government already has a communication team consisting of the Public Relations Division and the Agency of Communication and Information. However, because the Covid-19 issue is a serious and large-scale issue, a special task force was formed by the Surabaya Mayor, Tri Rismaharini. The communication team members include the Public Health Agency, the Communication, and Information Agency and the Public Relations Department.
Its existence aims to ensure communication patterns run more seriously and structured. This team has the authority to explore and determine what information can be published to the public. "Of course, by still referring to the communication protocol that has been announced by the Central Government," said Jefry while emphasizing the key to success in synergy across sectors is trust.
According to Jefry, the Covid-19 communication protocol stage refers to the existing communication guidelines, but with some adjustments, such as prioritizing issues related to Covid-19 and striving to speed the delivery of information so that there is no panic or information bias in the community.
In addition, the Surabaya City Government Public Relations are also required to be able to develop a wider angle so that the public can obtain more complete information. Starting from the hospital side to the efforts that have been made by the Surabaya City Government.
Race against Time
Jefry continued, in authority, the Public Relations Department and the Department of Communication and Information of the Surabaya City Government is the one that directed the information released to the public in terms of timing, strategy, and execution. "The key is to control the public so that they do not panic, but still alert. The public also knows what they have to do," he said, adding that the Surabaya City Government appointed the Head of the Surabaya City Public Health Agency as the spokesperson. While the Public Relations and Communication and Information Agency helped prepare materials and input on communication strategies to the spokesperson.
In order to make communication more effective, the Surabaya City Government involved community leaders. "By far the most influential figure is Mrs. Risma as the Mayor," said Jefry. "Have you watch the vlog of Mayor Risma educating the public about things to do in the midst of the outbreak of Covid-19?" he said as he asked. In addition, they are also collaborating with influencers such as e100, LoveSuroboyo, and AsliSuroboyo. All are willing to participate voluntarily.
Jefry acknowledged the challenges that often arise in times of crisis like now are a race against time. "Every moment, even seconds, the development of information can change drastically. This is what we must continuously anticipate," he said. Surabaya City Government Public Relations also chose to focus on communication strategies that are also fast, like utilizing social media content including video, infographics, and photos. "The target is for these contents to reach the public’s gadget first," he added.
A good communication strategy must also be followed by concrete actions. The Surabaya City Government's initiative should be appreciated. Starting from providing free masks, free coronavirus check services, building 140 portable washbasins, spraying disinfectants in a number of public spaces, to setting up sterilization booths. (rvh)