Indonesian journalists gear up as in-person events return

Indonesian journalists gear up as in-person events return

By Muhammad Arby

A number of international in-person events in Indonesia began to appear at the end of the year, although the COVID-19 virus has not disappeared. What do journalists need to prepare?

Last month, Indonesia held two international events, namely GAIKINDO Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) 2021 and World Superbike (WSBK) Mandalika. The events took place amid signs the coronavirus crisis is winding down.
GIIAS 2021 took place at ICE BSD City from 11th to 21st November 2021. Indonesia’s largest automobile show brought a total of 293,252 visitors during the period. The current pandemic restriction in the area is at the lowest level, with the vaccination rate reaching above 60%.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the exhibition, Indonesia also held WSBK at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit from 19th to 21st November 2021. This is the second time Indonesia has hosted the motorsport road racing series after a 24-year wait.

Dedhi Purnomo, the Editor-in-Chief of who covered GIIAS 2021, supported the return of in-person events, even though they were not completely safe from the virus.
"Journalists are like soldiers, they must be ready to be deployed in various conditions," said Dedhi.
Dedhi said the organisers were quite good at implementing health protocols. "The quality of the event is good, and I expect more automotive manufacturers to participate in the exhibition," he said.
Scherazade Mulia Saraswati of (Indonesia), who traveled to Lombok for WSBK, said the return of in-person events in the media industry is a very good thing. She explained that writing about motoring events sometimes could not be done online.
“It feels like something is missing when compared to attending an in-person event. Meeting sources, seeing a new product being launched, gives a different feel. And this is the advantage of holding in-person events,” said the Content Manager.

The atmosphere at Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. (Private doc.)

Similarly, the Editor at, Haryanto Tri Wibowo, sees in-person events as a refresher for journalists who were previously used to looking for news directly. Haryanto emphasized that in-person reporting methods are still the best for journalists.

"By meeting directly with sources, a journalist can make all the editorial plans that have been prepared, especially in making videos and photos, considering that multimedia is very important in today's online media editorial," he said.

Furthermore, he considered the two events as proof that Indonesia can hold a big event during a pandemic, considering that Indonesia is the only Asian country that was able to hold an international race this year.
"The country deserves credit. But obeying health protocols remain key for organisers, spectators, and journalists," he continued.'s Haryanto Tri Wibowo (right) with BMW Motorrad WorldSBK's Racer Michael Van Der Mark (left) at Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. (Private doc.)

Message for PRs
A number of adjustments are required to hold in person events in the midst of a pandemic. Strict implementation of procedures such as wearing a mask is a must. In the press room, social distancing also applies to journalists.
There are several notes from journalists that PRs can pay more thoughtful attention when holding offline events. Dedhi urged organisers to make the press room more accommodating for journalists.
“Please increase the working hours in the press room. Maybe because of the pandemic, we are only given from 11am to 8pm. Ideally, it should be from 10am to 9pm on weekdays and until 10pm on weekends," said Dedhi.
In addition, Dedhi was not comfortable when the organiser would clear the room three times a day to spray disinfectant. “We had to go out with our laptops, working outside for a while, and then go back in.”
"I felt that it was very annoying, even in the name of enforcing the health protocols," said Dedhi. He added that spraying disinfectants should be done when journalists are not working in the media room.

GIIAS 2021 took place at ICE BSD City from 11th to 21st November 2021. (Private doc.)
Meanwhile, Haryanto hopes that organisers should be stricter. "Do not hesitate to call out people who violate health protocols, so they don’t create new COVID-19 clusters," said Haryanto.
Scherazade hopes that communication professionals can synergise with journalists in creating more in-person events in 2022.
“Honestly, I really miss the excitement of covering in-person events and meeting face-to-face with the speakers, as well as the organisers. The atmosphere of in-person events can't beat online events," she concluded.
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