Presentation on theme: "Training Radiation Professionals to Be Volunteer Risk Communicators for the Medical Reserve Corps Adapted by the Health Physics Society Homeland Security."— Presentation transcript:
Training Radiation Professionals to Be Volunteer Risk Communicators for the Medical Reserve Corps Adapted by the Health Physics Society Homeland Security Section from training materials developed by the Florida Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other sources, including Dr. Vincent Covello.
Purpose of Training To provide health and medical physicists and other radiation professionals with: A basic knowledge of risk communications. Basic communications training to be able to function as subject-matter experts in a radiological/nuclear emergency. The terminology used in risk communications. Just-in-Time training on risk communications in a radiological/nuclear emergency. Integration of radiation spokespersons with their local MRC.
Training Outline This training is in a self-paced format and divided into three sections. The trainee can participate in each section or only one or two, depending on past experience and current needs.
Section Outline Section 1 – Risk Communications and Message Development Section 2 – Delivering the Message and Spokesperson Training Section 3 – Understanding and Dealing with the Media
Section 1 Risk Communications and Message Development
Section 1 Risk Communications and Message Development Module 1 – Risk Communications Module 2 – Message Maps
Risk Communications This module will introduce you to the basics of risk communications and what makes a good risk communicator. Module 1
What Is Risk Communications? The timely and effective dissemination of information about a high-stress topic, incident, or event so that individuals can make informed decisions and take appropriate actions for health and safety. Risk communications is central to public health & safety organizations and other agencies in conveying their messages to the diverse populations they serve.
What Is Risk Communications? (2) A method of providing information about an expected outcome of a certain behavior or exposure The interrelationship between the urgency of a crisis and the immediate need to communicate risks to the public
Key Messages of Risk Communications Risk communications is an evidence-based discipline. High-stress situations change the rules of communications. The key to critical communication success is anticipation, preparation, and practice. Vincent Covello: “95% of concerns and questions for any crisis can be predicted in advance.”
The APP Template 1. Anticipate 2. Prepare 3. Practice
Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (1) Likely Radiological/Nuclear Scenarios: Detonation of an improvised nuclear device (IND) Use of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) Discovery of a radiation exposure device (RED) Transportation incident involving radioactive materials Nuclear power plant event or terrorist incident
Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (2) Stakeholder/partners to be involved: Scenario dependent Public Media Private business Government Tribes
Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (3) Questions and concerns most likely: 77 most frequently asked questions by journalists in a disaster (from Covello) (go to References)References Examples: Who is in charge? What are your qualifications? Is there anything good you can tell us ?
Anticipate, Prepare, Practice (4) Dr. Covello has developed for the NRC a list of 400+ questions regarding a nuclear or radiological incident as part of a NUREG. NRC
Risk Communication Benefits Engenders agreement Reduces mistrust/fear/stress Resolves conflict Improves knowledge/control → Relationships becomes easier and less stressful due to mutual understanding (see IRPA).IRPA
Characteristics of a Good Spokesperson Communicates simply, using easily understood terms Focuses on immediate impact to the public Is able to convey empathy and caring Demonstrates competence and expertise Communicates honestly and openly
Characteristics of a Good Spokesperson Shows commitment and dedication Is sensitive and responsive to concerns Expresses optimism Stays calm and collected Exhibits positive body language Responds quickly to public/media inquiry
Spokesperson Suggested Background Training (1) Suggested online training available as: IS 7 A Citizen’s Guide to Disaster Assistance IS 22 Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness IS 100.b Introduction to Incident Command System IS 200.b ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents IS 700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction
MRC Spokesperson Suggested Background Training (2) Suggested online training available as: IS 800.b National Response Framework, An Introduction IS 702.a National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) Public Information Systems IS 808 Public Health and Medical Services (ESF-8)
MRC Spokesperson Suggested Background Training (3) Optional in-class training available (locally/state) as: ICS 300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents ICS 400 Advanced ICS Command and General Staff – Complex Incidents FEMA G289 Public Information Officer Awareness Public Health 101 (usually provided by local health department, but URLs to suggested introductions to public health included here in Section 2, Module 8) URLs
A Good Risk Definition “The probability of loss of that which we value.” - Dr. Vincent Covello
Risks viewed as: Voluntary Under one’s control With clear benefits Distributed fairly Natural Statistical From a trusted source Familiar Affecting adults …are more accepted than risks viewed as: Being imposed by others Controlled by others Of little or no benefit Unfairly distributed Man-made Catastrophic From an untrusted source Exotic Affecting children How the Public Views Risk
The Overarching Goal in Any Communication Situation To provide a clear and concise message to the right audience, at the right time, using the most effective medium. Helping people understand is particularly crucial in a public health emergency or crisis.
The CDC STARCC Principle During a disaster, people respond to clear instructions and want to be guided by government authorities. The way the message is framed is very important. In a crisis, your radiological or nuclear message must be: Simple Timely Accurate Relevant Credible Consistent
Important Points to Remember In an emergency, information must be disseminated accurately and quickly! The media is the best dissemination vehicle for most audiences. Plan ahead and be proactive. Use technology, but be prepared for it to fail. Know your role in the Incident Command System. Know your role in the Joint Information Center (JIC)/Joint Information System (JIS). Know your communication and emergency plans.
Joint Information System (JIS) Integrates incident information and public affairs into a cohesive organization. Provides a structure and system for developing and delivering coordinated interagency messages. Is a network for sharing information that will be made public.
Joint Information Center (JIC) A physical location where multiple agency’s Public Information Officer’s (PIOs) work together to respond, to manage, and to coordinate incident public information. Members work together to provide coordinated, timely, accurate information to the public and other stakeholders. News releases are written, spokespersons are prepared for interviews, news conferences are held, information hotlines are managed. News media may also work from this location or may attend this location for news conferences and interviews.
Communicating in a Crisis Is Different In a serious crisis, affected people: Understand information differently. Process information differently. Act on information differently. In a catastrophic radiological or nuclear incident: Communication is different. Be first, be right, be credible.
What the Public Will Ask First Are my family and I safe? What have you found out that may affect me? What can I do to protect myself and my family? Who caused this? Can you fix it?
What the Media Will Ask First What happened? Who is in charge? Has this been contained? Are victims being helped? What can we expect? What should we do? Why did this happen? Did you have forewarning?
Five Communication Failures That Kill Operational Success 1. Mixed messages from multiple experts 2. Information released late 3. Paternalistic attitudes 4. Not countering rumors and myths in real time 5. Public power struggles and confusion
What Do People Feel Inside When a Disaster Looms or Occurs? Psychological issues: 1. Denial 2. Fear, anxiety, confusion, dread 3. Hopelessness or helplessness 4. Seldom panic
People at Risk What Is the Individual Cost? 1. Demands for unneeded testing/treatment Want to be decontaminated Want to be tested for internal deposition 2. Dependence on special relationships (bribery) 3. MUPS—Multiple unexplained physical symptoms 4. Self-destructive behaviors 5. Stigmatization
Community at Risk What Is the Societal Cost? Disorganized group behavior (unreasonable demands, looting, stealing) Rumors, hoaxes, fraud, stigmatization Trade/industry liabilities/losses The threat to community resiliency
Communicating in a Crisis Is Different The public must feel empowered – to reduce fear and feelings of victimization. Mental preparation reduces anxiety. Taking action reduces anxiety. Uncertainty must be addressed. “When people are stressed and upset, they want to know that you care, before they care what you know.” (Covello)
Accuracy of Information __________ Speed of Release Empathy + Openness CREDIBILITY Successful Communication = + TRUST Which is what we all want!
Five Key Elements to Build Credibility 1. Be transparent 2. Follow through with promises 3. Stand by your convictions 4. Be an active listener 5. Back up your words
Five Key Elements to Build Trust 1. Express empathy 2. Show competence 3. Be honest/open 4. Show commitment 5. Be accountable
Spokesperson: Proactive vs. Reactive Think ahead Be timely and accurate Establish positive media relationships Anticipate expectations of public information Know the community’s hazards Plan accordingly Only reacting will make you appear unprepared, insensitive, untrustworthy, and secretive.
Getting Information to the Public (Available via Emergency Management) Emergency Alert System NOAA weather radio Ham radio operators Cable companies Weather channel Government access channels PA systems on emergency vehicles Internet and Direct satellite uplinks Local broadcasting stations Social media: Twitter, Facebook
Now Let’s Pull All of This Together!
Module 2 Message Development and Mapping
Elements of Message Development Have an objective for the interview. You don’t have to conform to the reporter’s agenda for the story. Develop your core message to support that objective. Your core message is also the phrase that you can return to each time you get a question that you are not able to answer. Your core message should be (from Covello): 27 words long; 9 seconds in length; 3 main points. 27 words for three statements. Use Message Maps (see next slide).
The Message Map An effective message begins with a “message map”: It identifies key messages. It offers responses to anticipated questions. It outlines key messages for a high-concern or controversial issue. It ensures consistent messages. It guides and directs spokespersons. It encourages the organization to speak with one voice. It promotes open dialogue.
Basics of Message Mapping The following slides will guide you through the message-mapping process. A message is a road map for displaying detailed, hierarchically organized responses to anticipated questions or concerns. It is a visual aid that provides, at a glance, the organization’s messages for high-concern or controversial issues. Adapted from Vincent T. Covello, PhD, "Message Mapping”, available at:
The Message Map
Stakeholder/Target Audience: General Public Category: Awareness Subject: Radiation Date updated: 03 April 2013 Question or Concern: What is ionizing radiation? Key Message/Fact 1: Ionizing radiation is a form of energy. Key Message/Fact 2: Too much radiation can affect your health. Key Message/Fact 3: You can protect yourself from too much radiation. Supporting Fact 1-1: Some radiation occurs naturally, such as from the sun’s rays or radon gas from the earth’s crust. Supporting Fact 2-1: Health risks depend on the type of radiation, the amount of radiation received, and the exposure time. Supporting Fact 3-1: The less time a person is exposed to a source of radiation, the less the radiation that is received. Supporting Fact 1-2: Some radiation is man-made, such as from x-rays or nuclear power plants. Supporting Fact 2-2: Health effects come from radiation penetrating the body or from radioactive material getting into or on the body. Supporting Fact 3-2: Radiation levels decrease the farther you get from the source. Supporting Fact 1-3: There are four kinds of ionizing radiation: alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron. Supporting Fact 2-3: Health effects can be immediate or may not be evident for many years. Supporting Fact 3-3: Radiation can be stopped by concrete, aluminum foil, clothing, lead, or even a sheet of paper, depending on what type of radiation it is. Message Map
Eight Goals of Message Mapping (1) 1. Identifying stakeholders early in the communication process 2. Anticipating stakeholder questions and concerns before they are raised 3. Organizing our thinking and developing prepared messages in response to anticipated stakeholder questions and concerns 4. Developing key messages and supporting information within a clear, concise, transparent, and accessible framework
Eight Goals of Message Mapping (2) 5. Promoting open dialogue about messages both inside and outside the organization 6. Providing user-friendly guidance to spokespersons 7. Ensuring that the organization has a central repository of consistent messages 8. Encouraging the organization to speak with one voice
Message Mapping: Seven Steps 1. Identify stakeholders for a specified emergency, crisis, or disaster. 2. Identify stakeholder questions and concerns. 3. Identify common sets of concerns. 4. Develop key messages. 5. Develop supporting information. 6. Conduct testing. 7. Plan for delivery.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 1: Identify stakeholders for a specified emergency, crisis, or disaster incident or event These would include interested or affected parties involved with a radiological or nuclear disaster.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 2: Identify stakeholder questions and concerns Most questions related to a radiological/nuclear emergency can be anticipated. Covello has developed for the NRC a list of 400+ questions.NRC Anticipate being asked some of these questions.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 3: Identify common sets of concerns Studies have shown that during a disaster, the public has 8-14 underlying concerns that it will want to be addressed.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 4: Develop key messages Respond to the list of underlying stakeholder concerns and specific stakeholder questions. Work with other health physicists and/or communications staff, if possible. Develop a narrative that can be reduced to key messages and entered on the message map.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 4 (cont.) – Develop Key Messages Barrier to Communicating Key Messages Mental Noise Theory – when people are upset they often have difficulty hearing, understanding, and remembering information. Mental noise can reduce the ability to process information by 80 percent.Mental Noise Theory This amounts to a loss of four grade levels below average learning capacity.
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (Step 4 cont.) The challenges of mental noise theory: Overcome the barriers that mental noise creates Produce accurate messages for diverse audiences Achieve maximum communication effectiveness within the constraints posed by mental noise
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (Step 4 cont.) Solutions to mental noise theory include: Developing a limited number of key messages, i.e., 3 key messages or one key message with 3 parts for each underlying concern or specific question (conciseness). Keeping individual messages brief, i.e., less than 3 seconds or less than 9 words for each key message and less than 9 seconds and 27 words for the three key messages (brevity). Developing messages that are understandable, i.e., at the 6-8 th grade level for communications (clarity).
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map (cont.) Solutions to mental noise theory include (cont.): Placing messages within a message set so that the most important messages occupy the first and last positions. Developing key messages that cite credible third parties, e.g., HPS, AAPM. Using graphics and other visual aids to enhance key messages. Balancing negative messages with positive, constructive, or solution-oriented key messages. Avoiding unnecessary use of the words “no, not, never, nothing, or none.”
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 5: Develop supporting information The dilemma: “Facts about risk appear to play little or no role in determining public perceptions and concerns about the risk.” (Covello) The solution: Provide understandable information and proofs for each message Keep repeating the same message
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 6: Conduct testing Subject-matter expert review Testing the message with key stakeholders or their surrogates Sharing and testing with partners
Seven Steps to Constructing a Message Map Step 7: Plan for delivery Which individuals/organizations are expected to receive this message? Which spokespersons will deliver the messages? Which communications channels might be delivering these messages?
Section 2 Delivering the Message and Spokesperson Training
Module 3 – News Writing in a Disaster Module 4 – News Interviews Module 5 – Interview Tips Module 6 – Just-in-Time training Module 7 – Emergency Communications Checklist Module 8 – Public Health 101
News Writing in a Disaster Module 3
Forms of News Writing News statement News release Fact sheet Biography Backgrounder Media advisory Opinion piece Holding statement
Info Conveyance In an emergency, information that might need to be conveyed through these forms of news writing may include : Updates about an ongoing issue. Activities being carried out by response and recovery agencies. Warnings and communications that address immediate issues, such as protective actions to take, shelter locations, evacuation routes, water status, and medical needs.
News Statements News statements are not news releases, but... Are usually a few paragraphs in length. Are often attributed to a high-ranking authority. May counter contrary views or misinformation. May be used to offer encouragement to victims.
Opinion Piece or Op-Ed Opinion pieces, published opposite the editorial page, can help legitimize your cause and spokesperson. They can be used before a disaster occurs to let the community know that a radiation expert is available, if needed. For publication… Ask about length (500-1,000 words). Determine the writing style. Determine how it must be submitted. Could be an opportunity for good public relations.
News Releases Tell the public about an issue: What you are doing? What do they need to know? What’s next? Demonstrate control. Demonstrate effective management. Establish an organizational presence. Enhance information flow to the media.
News Releases (2) Content A release is written in newspaper style: Lead sentence: who, what, when, where, why, and how Second sentence: supports the lead and may contain a quote Subsequent content: written in descending order of importance Text is short and to the point. No speculation. Critical Information Less Important
News Interviews Module 4
Interviews Are Opportunities An interview is an opportunity to deliver a message. Give the reporter your message. Use quotable quotes. Know your story. State your message and return to it. Use questions to deliver the message. Brand your message. Be confident! You are the expert!
Types of Interviews Print vs. broadcast General vs. investigative Unexpected (ambush) vs. prearranged Office vs. on-scene TIPS (see Module 5) Remain calm and in control. Remember, you are the official source. Be honest and transparent. Maintain the positive image of your organization.
Taking Control Tell your story Every question is a chance to bridge to your message. Be specific. Put issues into context. Speak with conviction. Project confidence. Do not debate other points of view. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER repeat negative language! An interview should be a choreographed exchange of information
Before the Interview Ask for the interview topic. Determine your central message. Prepare 3 message points. Rehearse 8- to 10-second sound bites. Prepare for potential questions. Prepare for the toughest question. The 5 Ws + 1 H will always be asked. Be prepared!
During the Interview What to do: Remain calm Maintain eye contact and be aware of body language Listen to and briefly answer each question Be direct and honest Learn to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” Defer to subject-matter experts when appropriate Make your points Provide your support Conclude your statements Then stop talking!
During the Interview (2) What not to do: Use “I” when you are the spokesperson Speculate Make promises you can’t keep Use jargon, technical terms, acronyms Use negative words and phrases Blame others Discuss costs Make jokes Repeat negative allegations Become defensive Go off the record
After the Interview (Depending on the Situation) Ask the reporter when the story will run. Thank the reporter. Make yourself available if the reporter needs more information.
Module 5 Interview Tips
Know Your Story! The more times you hear this the better! Go into the interview with your own agenda. Commit your messages to memory. Use questions to deliver your messages. Return to your messages consistently. Be confident! You are the expert!
To Increase Your Effectiveness… Speak in clear and brief sentences. Give succinct messages. Offer accurate and relevant information. Be a credible source of facts and statistics. Use “media friendly” language. Offer “quotable quotes”. Speak visually, creating mental pictures.
Anticipate the Questions Anticipate controversial questions and prepare answers. What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? To whom did it happen? How did it happen? What was the damage? Who is responsible? What do you plan to do about it? When will we get more information?
Develop Quick Responses Preparation, preparation, preparation! Always be prepared with: Basic information for expected questions, Q&A material. More detailed responses for more complex questions to put potentially explosive issues to rest.
Bridge to Key Messages “What I am really here to talk to you about is...” “Before we leave that...” “Let me answer by saying...” “I think you are asking about…” “Here are the steps we have taken…” “Let me put this in perspective...” “What you should know is...” “The most important point is...” “We are now doing…” I don’t want to speculate about what might happen…” Bridging helps you take control and avoid interrogation.
In-Person Interviews Be punctual. Wear appropriate clothing. Have reporter’s contact information. Relax! Body language, facial expressions, and personality are interpreted with what you say. Consider the interview a formal presentation, even if you are in a casual setting. Listen carefully to each question and take your time in answering.
Phone Interviews Tips for a successful phone interview: Hold your calls. Give full attention to the interview. Have key messages in front of you. Stand or sit up. Smile and project warmth and authority. Don’t feel obligated to fill a void or pause. Do not use a speaker phone.
There Is No “Off the Record” Remember! Anything you say may become a headline. If you don’t want it quoted, don’t say it. If you misspeak, calmly correct your statement.
Module 6 Just-in-Time Training
Top 10 Ways to Avoid Communications Mistakes (1) 1. Your words have consequences—make sure they are the right ones. 2. Don’t appear uncertain. Know what you want to say, then say it. Then say it again, as appropriate. 3. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, stop talking. 4. Focus on informing people, not impressing them. Use everyday language. 5. Never say anything you don’t want to see printed on tomorrow’s front page. *http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=500025HA.txthttp://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=500025HA.txt
Top 10 Ways to Avoid Communications Mistakes (2) 6. NEVER LIE! 7. Avoid making promises, false assurances, or guarantees. 8. Don’t say “No comment.” You’ll look as if you are hiding something. 9. Don’t get angry. When you argue with the media, you always lose—and you lose publicly. 10. Don’t speculate, guess, or assume. When you don’t know something, say so.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (1) 1. Form a crisis communications team. Keep it as small as needed. Staff it with experts, as required, including radiation, communications, public health, and legal. The team would be responsible for developing communication actions steps for a radiological/nuclear emergency.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (2) 2. Develop communications goals. Inform the public of the situation and specific dangers. Provide guidance on appropriate responses. Ease the public’s concerns by being prepared to answer or refer questions.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (3) 3. Develop a list of anticipated questions and messages. Develop, in advance, messages for the full range of radiological/nuclear emergency scenarios. Anticipate questions for each scenario. Prepare messages in all appropriate languages.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (4) 4. Prepare, in advance, facts sheets, and background materials. CLEAR – Simplify technical language for easy understanding at the 6–8 th grade level. CONCISE – Limit each item to three key messages with supporting information. BRIEF – Recognize that attention spans are limited during an emergency.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (5) 5. Develop precise logistics, roles, and functions. Determine roles for each member of the team. Create a backup communications plan of what to do if technology fails or those who are designated to be in charge are not available. Create a 24/7 contact list for your emergency-response team members and decide who will contact each person and in what order.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (6) 6. Coordinate communications procedures with other relevant agencies and organizations. Determine who speaks to the media and public on particular subjects. Determine who are primary and secondary contacts and experts for key offices and issues.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (7) 7. Identify and provide media training for lead and secondary spokespersons. Include all relevant agencies and emergency responders Select spokespersons who: Remain calm and controlled when addressing the public. Can communicate in nontechnical, ordinary language. Can retain and deliver key messages. Can convey empathy and concern with sincerity. Are knowledgeable. Use a good spokesperson trainer, if necessary.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (8) 8. Determine how to get your message out. Identify normal best channels. Develop alternatives if normal communications channels break down.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (9) 9. Develop and maintain media lists. Should be available from public health PIO, otherwise… Includes names, phone numbers, and addresses for media contacts. List should be kept up to date and readily available. List should be available in electronic and printed versions.
Emergency Communications “Top 10” Planning Checklist (10) 10. Practice Put your planning into practice with scenario-based exercises or drills. Evaluate the outcomes of the exercises to identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Module 8 Public Health 101
Medical Reserve Corps “The mission of the MRC is to establish teams of local volunteer medical and public health professionals* who can contribute their skills and expertise throughout the year as well as during times of community need.” *also nonhealth and medical volunteers
MRC Concept Establish groups of volunteers with interest in strengthening the local public health system and providing help in emergencies Organized/utilized locally, usually Integrate with existing programs and resources in the community, public health, emergency management, etc. Identify, credential, train, and prepare in advance
Public Health and the MRC Most MRCs are sponsored by public health departments. Health and medical physicists as SMEs should be aware of the normal and emergency operations of their local health department. The health department is the connection to local emergency management.
Public Health Videos The following URLs have general information on the operation of public health. What Is Public Health? (Flash presentation) What Is Public Health? (online course: 2.5 hours) age.asp?activityId=7810 age.asp?activityId=7810
Section 3 Understanding and Dealing with the Media
Module 9 – The Media Module 10 – Avoiding Interview Pitfalls
The Media Module 9 There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn't write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press. John F. KennedyJohn F. Kennedy ( ) Thirty-fifth President of the United States
Who Are the Media? Newspapers and magazines Radio 24-hour coverage Television 24-hour coverage: CNN, FOX, MSNBC Other media types Wire Services Associated Press, Reuters Internet Social media: Twitter, You Tube
Working with the Media The primary functions of the spokesperson are: Building and maintaining professional relationships. Remembering the 5 Ws and 1 H of providing information. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Accommodating media’s varying needs TV needs visuals. Radio needs “now” interviews and sound bites. Print needs details and in-depth stories.
Media Goals To find and cover newsworthy events To inform the public To provide the most fair, accurate, honest reporting Effects of media assistance: Helps reduce anxiety Prepares the public for action Warns the public of what may follow Have the media work with us!
Media Relations… Are improved by knowing them before the emergency. Are enhanced by inviting media to training exercises for MRC SMEs and asking their advice. May be fostered by hosting a “Media Day” or conducting on-site visits with media to enhance relationships with the MRC.
Media Relations… To cultivate media relationships: Be credible, dependable, and accessible Maintain confidentiality Be flexible and accurate Have a consistent media policy
Print Media Characteristics High dependence on phone links to transmit information to publishing houses More depth and background—human interest stories Longer-lasting archives and records—Internet accessible Needs Trustworthy sources Analysis and roll-up of activities Chronologies Feature stories Graphics Photos
Radio Media Characteristics Desire to be first to report a story—Internet accessible Production of short reports Pride in immediacy of reporting Ability to put authorities on the air quickly An essential disaster warning tool Ambient noise Needs Sound bites in 10 seconds or less Spokesperson with command of language Spokesperson who avoids colloquialism Spokesperson with a clear, measured voice
Television Media Characteristics Powerful visuals Short sound bites (often over video images) Often influenced by broadcast times and schedules Established CNN and cable impact—Internet accessible Needs Trustworthy sources Sound bites in 10 seconds or less Visuals of the scene and real people B-roll
On-Site Media Needs Access issues: computers, phone and fax lines, Internet Satellite trucks and uplinks Pooling facilities National and local media logistical support Access to people and the “human touch”
Module 10 Avoiding Interview Pitfalls
How to Avoid Interview Pitfalls Journalists develop individual techniques to get their stories. Being aware of these methods can help you avoid them.
The Rapid Question Asker Trap The interviewer fires questions at you and you try to answer all of them. Solution To regain control, choose one question and answer it. Bridge “I think what you are asking …”
The Interrupter Trap The interviewer cuts off your answers, turning the interview into an interrogation. Solution Politely continue your statement, simply and quotably. Bridge “I’ll be happy to answer that in a moment, but as I was saying…”
The Aggressive Interviewer Trap The interviewer is hostile, tricking you into defense rather than the delivery of a positive message. Solution Remain calm, ignore the attack, pause, and bridge to your message. Bridge “I think we may be getting off track here…”
The Too-Friendly Interview Trap The interviewer lulls you into false friendliness and overconfidence so you will unintentionally reveal information off message. Solution Stay on message, reacting warmly but aware that an interview can turn hostile at any time. Bridge “The important thing to remember is…”
The Personalizer Trap The interviewer relates your responses to personal feelings, using your hesitation to lead you away from the message. Solution Before the interview, decide how to handle a personal question, using language in concert with the official position. Bridge “What is important to our listeners is that …”
The Void Trap The interviewer is silent after you answer, creating an awkward void so you will speak off message or say more than you should. Solution Feel confident you have answered the question completely and remain silent. Bridge Say nothing… or bridge to a positive message.
The Hypothesizer Trap The interviewer draws you into speculation about possibilities, then takes it out of context and puts you at odds with your message. Solution Tell the reporter it is inappropriate to speculate and bridge to a positive message. Bridge “It would be inappropriate for me to speculate, but…”
Interview Points to Remember Be aware and be prepared! Stay on message, no matter what! Remember, you are the expert!
Risk Communications Training Summary You are the radiation subject-matter expert! You may be the first – or the only – voice the public hears. Review your key messages Organize your thoughts Create your agenda Focus Rehearse Relax! Don’t argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel or videotape by the case!
References Crisis Emergency Risk Communications by Leaders for Leaders. CDC STARCC Principle [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April Communication in Risk Situations. Mental Noise Theory [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April Communicating Radiation Risks. Crisis Communications for Emergency Responders [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April Message Mapping, Risk and Crisis Communications [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April 2013.http://rcfp.pbworks.com/f/MessageMapping.pdf
References Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April IRPA Guiding Principles for Radiation Protection Professionals on Stakeholder Engagement [online]. Available at: 91CE-739C8F615F4B%7D/Stakeholder-Engagement-Guiding- Principles.pdf. Accessed 17 April CE-739C8F615F4B%7D/Stakeholder-Engagement-Guiding- Principles.pdf 77 Questions Commonly Asked by Journalists During an Emergency or Crisis [online]. Available at: https://njlmn.rutgers.edu/cdr/docs/covello2_ pdf. Accessed 17 April https://njlmn.rutgers.edu/cdr/docs/covello2_ pdf Guidance on Developing Effective Radiological Risk Communication Messages [online]. Available at: Accessed 17 April
Contact Information John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP Florida Department of Health in Escambia County