Urgent Evoke

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LEARN9 - Managing Panic in a Pandemic

I picked "Managing Panic in a Pandemic" because it seems to me most important after a pandemic has broken out. Journalists help the government with the crisis communication. The article includes five different aspects that are important for dealing with panic.

1. Public trust is a big issue
2. Push technology
3. We don’t deal with what we house in our minds
4. Good things happen if you do them
5. Questions Journalists Can Ask

The concept "panic" should, however, be defined in first place. Panic is a state of intense fear of a real or perceived threat. "Panic really is about a loss of social order, a loss of internal order. Most of the time people are running around doing what they believe is self-protective. It's not panic, but it might not be social order."

In the first place it is important that people have confidence in the government. "The idea behind the public trust is this: If people are concerned about something and you don't address those concerns, they really can't hear your message." I think if the trust is not there no one can help people process the panic. This would take the course of the pandemic more serious proportions.

Push technology means to convey the right message for expected matter. The point is that the government knows how people deal with their own safety and what behavior they exhibit. Furthermore "there's a social and emotional deterioration, and with that comes dysfunction, and with that also comes a cascade of economic problems."

The third point is "We don’t deal with what we house in our minds". The problem is that people do not believe much of what they are told. "In terms of trying to reduce risky behavior, we aren't very good about following directions. We don't listen to our mothers. We don't listen to our doctors. So why should we listen to the government?" So it's important for journalists to have an impact on humanity in disaster areas.

The next part is "Good things happen if you do them." For this point five things are important:
Safety is about removing people from a threat.
Calming happens when you want to lower the state of arousal so people can function, concentrate and take concrete steps towards what they need to do to protect themselves.
Connection: People's basic need to connect with others and not be isolated needs to be attended to.
Efficacy occurs when someone is capable of taking action on their own. When they do so as a member of a group, that's collective efficacy.
Hope: The idea that the world is predicable and we will get through it, that's hope.

Last but not least "Questions Journalists Can Ask". If journalists could take these five ideas and infuse them in their messages, I'd be very happy. Absent this, we don't have leadership set up to handle grief. Continuity of operations goes way beyond business. It's continuity of life as we know it.

As already Dori Reissman said: Journalists play a key role helping government manage fear in the general population during a disaster. I think the crisis communication is especially important. In particular, when diseases break out and people panic, it's good if you simply as a citizen comes to information. Thus journalists are a great help to the government.

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