A crash course in changing the world.
People’s perceptions of various risks differ greatly. How will these beliefs about risk play out in a pandemic? And what is the role of officials and journalists as they deal with both people’s strong emotions and emerging facts as they communicate with the public? Peter Sandman, an expert in risk communication explains why risk truly has two elements—hazard and outrage—and why understanding them both is crucial to crisis communication as well as pandemic journalism.
Note: Below are edited transcripts of Peter Sandman’s talks on these questions, given at the Nieman Foundation conference “The Next Big Health Crisis” in December 2006. On October 3, 2009, he sent us some additional observations about what he thinks journalists are missing in the current pandemic.