Three classes of second year students, divided into several smaller groups, had to give out statements and answer questions from journalists related to a fictional outbreak of a dangerous virus in the Netherlands. Students took on several different roles during this simulation: they were Press Officers, Mayors, spokerpersons for the Municipality, Ministers of Health, virus experts, journalists, and more.
Every group organised the press conference in its own way. The Press Officer of one group opens the press conference and immediately the setting turns very serious. "It is not allowed to interrupt the spokerspersons and it is strictly prohibited to take pictures" she says. Everyone eagerly awaits the statements that are about to follow.
From the spokesperson of the municipality we learn that the virus has taken its toll: several people have died and almost 100 are hospitalised. She says that everything is being done to control the virus and mimimize the risk of being infected. Then the Minister of Health explains that the virus is carried by certain vegetables but that there is no need to panic as long as you do not eat raw vegetables. A member of the European Health Security Committee backs that statement by urging people to remain calm and that they are safe as long as they follow basic hygiene regulations in their surrounding (especially the kitchen).
Then the floor is open for questions. There are some real journalists present but classmates and lecturers also act as journalists and ask many questions. The journalists are worried about the virus and want to get more details about its spread and danger. The debate gets heated and students come up with some good answers. The Press Officer then steps in: "Sorry, no time for questions any more, the twenty minutes are up." The journalists disagree but the Press Officer determinantly closes the press conference. The students did a good job on making it all look very real.
Journalist in a discussion with the Press Officer and Minister of Health during simulation press conference