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Opening up the social, economic and scientific debates on Covid-19 to Turkish audiences

27 April 2020

Turkish cultural and political publication One plus One has been bringing worldwide expert comment and opinion to Turkish audiences since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and highlighting critical issues for the country.

While Bir plus Bir or One plus One published its latest quarterly print magazine just days before coronavirus hit the headlines, the situation accelerated the team’s plans to produce more online content.

“We rapidly tuned in with the coronavirus news on the website from the very first day. We opened up a YouTube channel and interviewed academics, journalists, artists from around the world in order to understand the situation and to get ready for the coming days,” says One plus One journalist Merve Erol.

Their first coronavirus coverage was an interview with a specialist on infections, Dr Melahat Cengiz, on 28 February, who discussed the possibility of a pandemic. This approach proved to be agenda-setting:

“Our interview with genetic scientist Dr. Çağhan Kızıl from Dresden Medical Faculty became one of the most read pieces on our website of all time. After this explanatory detailed interview, Mr Kızıl was invited to many newspapers and TV programmes.”

Shaping the debate

As well as providing expert information on the science, true to their brand, One plus One journalists highlighted the social issues that are raised by the pandemic and response to it, drawing attention to at-risk groups, including those put in danger by quarantine measures.

“We started with an interview about the risks in prisons,” says Erol. “We carried on with interviews with cargo and supermarket workers, doctors, health workers, construction workers, solidarity networks, economists, women’s rights activists and focused on the problem in terms of medical science, law, politics, and the arts.”

Their Covid-19 coverage to date has included video interviews from Italy, France, Germany, New York, California, Lesbos and Ecuador, and has included translations of interviews from well-known international commentators on some of the wider policy debates such as universal basic income.

The team is, however, aware that in these unprecedented times, people also need to take their minds off the virus.

“We also carry some pieces from the past magazine issues to the website, especially about arts, music, literature, in order to provide a good reading opportunity to our readers and to dilute the density of the pieces related to Covid-19,” Erol explains.

To learn more about Bir + Bir and their activities, read their profile on our website.

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