And now here’s proof: Internet info most “valuable” for emergency communication

May 8, 2009

Thanks to Jimmy Jazz, a frequent crisisblogger visitor and commenter, I can point you to proof of what I have been suggesting. The mainstream media is no longer the leading or dominant way in which the public gets its information about major emergencies–particularly as it relates to the value of the information. This study from Pew about the virus (H1N1 or swine flu–you choose) outbreak provides some pretty surprising and compelling evidence of the rapid shift in dependence on the internet for disaster and emergency communications.

I encourage you to read this study (Thanks Jimmy for pointing this out) as it contains much valuable information about demographics and the forms of information they choose, exposure to info vs. value of the information, perceptions of the job the media is doing on this issue, percentage of newshole filled by this story, and how worried the public is by the reports.

Two more additions to this post, thanks to my friend and respected JIC expert Chuck Wolf of Media Consultants in Houston:

An article from USA Today about the outbreak and use of social media, particularly by the CDC.

An article from Calgary Herald about the outbreak and a very important question for crisis communicators. If there ever was an argument for coordinated communication management among government agencies, this article provides it. It absolutely shows the need for short, key messages ala Dr. Vincent Covello. The problem is, in a rapidly changing situation that is hard to gauge, how can this be done. It also shows that the most important role that agencies can play in a major event like this is rumor management–someone needs to be available with the facts to counter all the inevitable misinformation out there. So an agency’s website becomes a site around that issue.

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