Dr. Gretchen King, Assistant Professor of Communication and Multimedia Journalism
Learning through the challenges.
Prior to the rise of COVID-19, I was involved in applying for two external research grants: one with a research team in Sweden and another with a local NGO. Both were funded shortly after Lebanon’s first lockdown. For one project, the funder allowed the proposal to be tailored to the new realities created by the pandemic, but the revisions did not allow for a delay in the research output. In this context, the project shifted to collecting research data using Webex.
Doing everything online required providing research personnel with access to labs on campus during LAU closures to facilitate the research. When Lebanon went into multiple lockdowns during the summer, we had to use research funds to purchase equipment so that research personnel could work from home. After data collection, the research team worked to launch a bilingual online learning platform called Diraya.media to mobilize knowledge based on the research conducted.
The second research project was proposed in stages and the first round of funding covered equipment purchases. These were completed despite the challenges presented by the lockdowns. We are now installing the equipment and looking to start the capacity building and research phase after the current lockdown. This project will face similar challenges and the deadlines from the funder also remain unchanged. Still, I look forward to learning through the challenges and achieving the project’s proposed outcomes that will produce a media monitoring report on the portrayal of migrant workers and launch the first Migrant Community Newsroom in Lebanon.