Via DiversityPrep: Risk Communication for Faith-Based African American Communities

Guidance for Risk Communicators in Collaborating with Faith- Based African American Communities for Pandemic Flu Preparedness

This series of videos from the Southern Center for Communication, Health & Poverty provides expertise from those conducting public information/risk communication with African American faith-based communities. To access the videos CLICK HERE.

Very interesting resource just posted. Actually, just about everything done by the Philly-local National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities (or DiversityPrep) is interesting and well-done.

This one comes highly recommended.

Via Crisis Comm Blog: Emergency Message Development, or Message Mapping

Here’s how I do message mapping using these basic concepts plus a few more:

- Gather together the key people who will in an event need to decide what needs to be communicated. No point in going through a big exercise if senior leaders haven’t been a part of it and don’t know the thinking and rationale involved, or legal people will step all over your statements of empathy, concern and apology. Get those who will need to make the call involved in planning the messages from the beginning.

- Create an exhaustive list of scenarios–keep in mind one big lesson from the gulf spill, don’t skimp on imagination. Take your worst case scenario and then make it ten times worst. Clearly one of the biggest underlying mistakes in the gulf was not confronting how bad things could get if all the failsafe systems failed. They did, it got bad. Don’t let your imagination fail you here.

- Put your scenarios into a risk matrix. Make a chart on your white board. On the left side draw a line representing likelihood, with high at the top and low at the bottom. Across the bottom draw a line representing impact, with high on the right and low connecting to the line for likelihood. Then place each of your scenarios (numbers work better than names here) on the chart. There are four quadrants–upper right is high likelihood, high impact. That’s the red zone. Lower right is orange, lower likelihood but high impact. Yellow is upper left–high likelihood, low impact. Green is low and low.

- Prioritize based on what the matrix tells you. Certainly you’ll want to focus on the red zone, but don’t forget the others, particularly yellow. Things that are likely to happen, even if relatively low impact, warrant attention. In part because things tend to roll together.

- Draft an empathy statement. How will you concisely express your concern for those impacted? It is not just important to start with this for the words, but as a reminder to those who deliver the message that if they do not sincerely communicate concern for those impacted, nothing else will matter.

- Create your three key messages, using the 3/9/27 rule. This is not easy, folks. Getting what is most important down to just what needs to be said is hard stuff.

- Create your sub-messages. Yes, you can add details for when providing those details is available to you. You can just never let the details get in the way of continually, loudly, consistently and concisely communicating those key messages.

Creating message maps should be standard practice for risk communicators, and Gerald’s post here gives a set of steps as to how to best accomplish it.

In my eyes the two most important pieces of this process are those that are routinely ignored. Involving senior leaders early and often and ranking message development priority by risk. Too often we get pushed in a direction (that might not be the most important) at leadership’s urging and then hand them a completed project.

The more invested leadership is in the development process, the more likely they will utilize your messages in an emergency. And the more likely the emergency, the more reason to actually have messages developed. Seems simple, right?

Via Peter Sandman: Risk Communication Videos

For folks who remember the old blog, you’ll remember I’m a really big fan of Peter Sandman. I’ve mined his site countless times and believe that reading his thoughts has made me a better risk communicator. I’ve always wanted to hear him speak, but have not yet gotten the opportunity. Fingers crossed!

In lieu of going to a place and seeing Dr. Sandman speak, now I’ve got the next best thing. He’s posted 12 videos of a training recently completed in Brisbane, Australia. Love it!

Thanks so much, Dr. Sandman. Here’s the link to his new Media page.

Bloggers as Information Disseminators

When you plan for and conduct outreach campaigns, or issue press releases, or disseminate risk communication materials, most people in our field will tell you to make sure you hit all of your target audiences. (Thinking back to your social marketing classes, you’ve already segmented your audience, right?) And that’s usually pretty easy. There’s the mass media (print, radio, TV and static adverts), your employees, partners that are either invested in the effort or that you work closely with, any special populations outreach media (think Spanish-language radio stations and newspapers), any other specific outreach modalities (think doctor’s office waiting rooms, etc.) and the really forward thinking folks will post to their Facebook page, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels.

Think you’ve got everyone? I would argue that you don’t. There’s a hugely influential population that hasn’t yet made it to the list for a lot of government communicators.

Who? Bloggers.

If there is internet access around you, there are people in your jurisdiction who are building a community online. Those communities are as varied and specialized as our campaigns and, in many cases, hyper-local. They are written in your town or city, written about things that are going on in your town or city, and are visited by residents of your town or city. If they’ve gained any sort of following, they’ve established themselves as trusted agents within your town or city. And, as a blogger, let me tell you that they’re always looking for new readers.

In the past, I helped design a campaign to connect with family medical decision-makers in our community. The campaign was never fully implemented, but a key tenet of it was targeted, personal outreach to members of the “mommyblogging” community in Philadelphia. Wives and mothers are usually the ones that make the medical decisions in their families, and research has shown that women visit so-called “mommyblogs” by the truckload.

So, if these blogs have established themselves as places that medical decision-makers visit and interact with, why wouldn’t we want to establish a relationship with them? Working in public health, it’s easy to see the connection, especially as some “mommybloggers” have taken very vocal pro-vaccine stances in the past. What a natural dissemination point! And yet, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a public health department, or other public agency, partner with individual, unaffiliated bloggers to further push out messages.

We willingly and regularly partner with community- and faith-based organizations who reach hundreds of community-members, and act as trusted agents in their community, but continue to ignore online communities that are viewed as trusted resources by tens, hundreds, thousands of people.

Given the thirst for increased readership and interesting content of most bloggers, which we as government agencies can easily provide, I can’t think of a more natural fit.

I wonder if this oversight is simply a blind spot that will be overcome as we become more comfortable online, or if it is an active rejection of bloggers as online ranters with no community, blathering on about nothing in their pajamas. As a blogger who’s never blogged in his pajamas, I hope it’s the former, and quickly overcome.


Via What Your Media Trainer Should Tell You is Going to Happen

During an interview this morning on WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, the governor said though he apologized to Stahl afterward for his outburst, he didn’t apologize to her producers, who he said goaded her into asking him the same question “over and over again.”

He said the other alternative was to walk out of the interview, which was on the subject of casinos. But, he said, “that would have been just as bad because I believe the press should have access to public officials.”

Soon-to-be former PA Governor, Ed Rendell, is usually pretty media savvy. When he recently sat down with 60 Minutes to discuss legalized gambling, which is a hot-button issue here in Philadelphia, thing didn’t go so well. He came off poorly, to say the least. He was angry, snarling, yelling, abusive, etc.

At the time, I was surprised by his reaction on camera, and am now even more surprised by his reasons why this happened. Every media trainer I’ve ever met tells you that the media will ask the same question a thousand times, in slightly different ways. When they get the answer they want (see: Rendell, Ed) they toss the rest of the tape and just use that.

Please, for the sake of your agency, if there’s anyone who might be in front of a camera, put them in front of a media trainer first!