Campus News

Pioneering project: Students use mobile technology to create AIDS announcements

UGA students shooting PSA-H.Action
The UGA student team shoots a scene for one of its personal public service announcements. Team members (from left) are: Nicole Orlando (senior in social work)

On Nov. 7 students from UGA’s New Media Institute teamed up in Philadelphia with partners from Temple University, the University of South Carolina and Verizon Communications to pioneer new uses of mobile media technology to address the challenge of AIDS education.
The AIDS Personal Public Service Announcement Project challenged the student teams to conceptualize, plan, shoot and edit a personal public service ­announcement for cell phone distribution in a 24-hour period.
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 250,000 people in the U.S. are living with HIV and don’t know it. Many of the unknowing HIV-infected are young people, a demographic that is increasingly difficult to reach with traditional broadcast media. Mobile media—the cell phone in particular—has powerful potential for reaching young people with information to help them stay healthy and protect others.

“Young people have a unique connection with their cell phones,” said Scott Shamp, director of the New Media Institute in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “We want to use that connection to help them make good health decisions.”

The project kicked off with experts speaking about AIDS, HIV infection, health marketing and mobile technology. the next morning, students, with backpack mobile production studios in tow, set out around Philadelphia to collect materials for their PPSAs. Throughout the day they used Verizon’s broadband wireless network to transmit footabe back to professional producers stationed at a remote location in the city. By the end of the day, the three-student teams with the help of remote producers, had produced 10 30-second spots encouragin young people to get tested for HIV/AIDS. The PPSAs debuted at a reception that evening. On Dec. 1 (World AIDS Day), the PPSAs were made available for download to cell phones worldwide.