Johnson & Johnson : Covering a crisis

An ‘Ebola news page’ is a useful one-stop resource for journalists reporting on the epidemic.

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The feature

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the US pharmaceutical and consumer goods company, has a page on its corporate website devoted to news and resources about the Ebola epidemic. The page – ‘Our Commitment to Combating Ebola’ – is dominated by a large image panel and the headline: ‘Fast facts about Phase 1 First-in-Human Clinical Trial’ (the subject of one of its most recent press releases). There are five bullet points below the heading with the ‘fast facts’, eg, ‘Trial is being led by the Oxford Vaccine Group’, and ‘Recruitment for 72 volunteers is underway’.

Two columns of smaller image panels run down the page. They serve as clickable signposts to related content and are grouped according to type of resource – press releases, blogs (internal and external), infographics and videos (in-house clips and media clips from Bloomberg, CNBC, etc). Each of these has a concise caption summarising the content. At the bottom of the page are two media contacts, with names, headshots and direct phone numbers and email addresses.

The takeaway

Johnson & Johnson is one of three pharmaceuticals at the forefront of Ebola vaccine development (the others are GSK and Merck), so media interest is high, and it makes sense to aggregate content into a one-stop resource for journalists. The page, which is well signposted from the home page and the news section landing page, serves several functions at once: explaining what J&J is doing, showcasing its expertise, providing background information for journalists new to the story, and inviting them to get in touch.

The range of resources is impressive, with a good mix of different formats including prevalent use of video. The page, like the rest of the website, is responsive (automatically adjusting to any screen size), and it works well on smartphones and tablets for journalists on the move. By signposting the site prominently from the home page (it was one of the three main rotating ‘Featured Stories’ when we checked), it will also appeal to other stakeholders such as jobseekers or the general public who may want to click through to get a sense of J&J’s work in the area. The language in the headline – ‘Our commitment…’ is designed to appeal these audiences.

One quibble – we could not find a reference on the page to the very latest J&J Ebola-related press release from January 16th (available on the news release page but not on the dedicated Ebola page), about a consortia of organizations, including J&J, that have received €100m from the European Union for vaccine development.
First published 21 January, 2015
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