NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – As the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage across the city and other parts of New Jersey last spring, the city updated its website to provide up-to-the-moment information, used social media to reach out to residents and launched a daily radio show and podcast hosted by Mayor Jim Cahill.
Those efforts to reach out to the 57,000 or so residents of New Brunswick with current and accurate information have been recognized with a special award from the Rutgers University’s Center for Government Services, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and the New Jersey Municipal Management Association as part of an annual statewide Municipal Public Information competition.
At the start of the pandemic, the official city website was modified to include special sections and pages exclusively dedicated to local COVID-19 news and information. It was then shared across the city’s social media platforms where additional content was also posted. Digital assets were made available to schools, hospitals and other city entities to assist in content-sharing efforts such as critical health and safety information.
As testing became more widely available, New Brunswick also assisted Middlesex County in promoting COVID-19 screenings in the city through its Nixle alert system, sending valuable and timely information straight to subscribers.
The coronavirus messaging was bolstered by a daily radio show and podcast, “The New Brunswick COVID-19 Report,” hosted by Cahill and public information officer Bert Baron. Through a special partnership, the half-hour program was aired each weekday morning on radio station WCTC-AM 1450 through the spring and summer, and presented reliable and hyper-local content of interest and importance to residents and business owners in and around the city as well as special guests.
The podcast continues to be produced each Monday, Wednesday and Friday and is posted to the city’s website with an accompanying Spanish-language transcript.
“As we move into the next critical phase of the pandemic, our residents will continue to look to us for information and guidance,” Cahill said. “As the vaccine becomes more widely available, we’ll be sure to keep our residents fully updated on how, when and where to be vaccinated. We are committed to continuing to provide credible news as we go forward.”