I want to wish everyone best wishes for getting through the pandemic. My sons came home from college for spring break – and won’t be going back to campus until late August. My wife is running her trade association from the dining room, and I’m leading the AWARN Alliance and Convergence Services, Inc from the home office I’ve had for years. Along with our two cats, it’s ‘cozy’ in the Lawson house. But we are peacefully co-existing – and staying healthy. We’re blessed.

Meet New AWARN Communications Director

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On the work front, we have much to be thankful for as well. I’m happy to introduce Anya Shetler, our new AWARN Communications Director. Anya has a deep background in public health and education, which I thought was just an added plus to her impressive resume when I hired her in early February. As it turned out, her expertise has added a whole new dimension to our work to develop advanced emergency messaging. (Her training in trauma-sensitive yoga therapy might come in handy, too, before the lockdown is over.)

TV of Tomorrow Interview on COVID-19 and NextGen TV

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Also, we want to make sure you know about a podcast interview that Anya and I recorded with @TSwedlow of @TVOTshow.

Part of Tracy Swedlow’s Televisionation series, it’s about how COVID-19 is changing the ways we use technology and what that means for the future of #NextGenTV and TV news. As she famously does no matter who she’s interviewing, Tracy always gets to the heart of the matter in her trademark relaxed and charismatic way.

Best and Worst Time to Talk about Future of TV Emergency News and Info

When it comes to talking with TV news professionals about the future of emergency news and information during the pandemic, a news thought leader told me it was the best of times and the worst of times. News teams are working around the clock to keep their staff safe while feeding the 24-hour news cycle – and building ratings and trust in the process. They are very busy. The topic of emergency communications, however, is top-of-mind like never before. And unlike a tornado or school shooting, the COVID-19 emergency is not fading away anytime soon.

Setting aside competition during the pandemic

So, we’re following the admonition that a ‘crisis is a terrible thing to waste.’ The pandemic’s occurring in the same year that NextGen TV is launching across the country creates an historically unique opportunity to move the needle toward our AWARN goal of advanced alerting, news and information. Stay tuned for our announcement of an AWARN pilot project and other activities than can help define the future of TV emergency news and information.

John Lawson, Executive Director, AWARN Alliance, Alexandria, VA USA