A crash course in changing the world.
Glen Nowak, Chief of Media Relations with the CDC explains the five main challenges to crisis communication:
1. Most scientists believe that news media articles should have the same standards as scientific journals which is of course unrealistic because in the news media headlines and articles have to be eye-catching and thrilling for to attract the attetion of the potential customer.
2. Education is not the only purpose of news reporting. That means a single article can only be repeated a limited number of times before the customers get bored and switch to another program or media.
3. It is impossible the bring all possibly interesting findings in the news. So called FYI-content (for your interest) is worth nothing without practical advice for possible reactions.
4. The crisis communication style which the CDC would prefer - total transparency and sharing of all information - is the opposite of what political leaders prefer to do.
5. Experts and the public have different views. Sometimes the perception of an audience may be influenced by what it wants to hear e.g. a medical "treatment" can be mistaken with a "cure" because the audience perceives this as more comforting.
D*** Thompson, former team leader with WHO Pandemic and Outbreak Communication, explains the five most important principles of crisis communication:
1. Trust is the most important thing.
2. Be as transparent as possible.
3. Announce as early as possible.
4. Adjust the way of outbreak communication to the people's demand.
5. Never over-reassure or mislead, never lie about what you know.