CERC Transcript 07 26 2016

Zika CERC Discussion: Working with the Media

Presenters: Barbara Reynolds, PhD

Date/Time: July 26, 2016 1:00 pm ET



Welcome and thanks for standing by. At this time, your lines have been placed on listen-only until we open for questions and answers. To ask a question, you may press Star 1 on your touch tone phone. Please be advised today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I would now like to turn the conference over to Miss Barbara Reynolds. Please go ahead.

Barbara Reynolds:

Thank you, Laura and thank you everyone for joining this week’s Zika Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Discussion. Obviously if I’m speaking to you, you were able to catch up with the telephone number change. If you are talking to anyone who didn’t make it in, please apologize on our behalf for the telephone change without, the telephone number change without letting you all know.

We’re still going to go ahead and know that now that means those of you who are on the line, you have a bigger responsibility this week because I am hoping that after we get through the discussion that there will be some questions or further comments about what we’re talking about today and I’d also like to give you a little assignment. I would appreciate it if you would e-mail to us at cercrequest@cdc.gov any topic areas within Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication that you would like us to cover that we haven’t already in this series. We’re prepared to go forward with additional weeks as long as we have topic areas of interest and also want to let you know that next week we’re going to do a refresher because we’re further into Zika mosquito season. We’re going to go back and look at some of the communication aspects of first cases of local transmission. It could very well likely be by next week that we have announcements in some place about it. We just never know but even so for each community or state or region, when you have your first local transmission, there will certainly be some communication questions that may come up.

Today we’re going to talk about working with the media and what’s different in a crisis situation in terms of your media relationships. And I can’t go forward without saying and reminding everyone that the reason we have these discussions and we work towards improving our ability, skills, and planning around communication for our crisis is because without doubt, the right message at the right time from the person or organization can save lives and reduce harm.

We were going to talk about working with the media but I think it’s important to know there’s a little work that has to be done before they call on us or before we call on them. And so it means we need think in terms of what do we want to say and who are our audiences? And without question, I use this little thing called the STARCC principle to remind us that messages need to be simple, timely, accurate, relevant, credible, and consistent so STARCC with two Cs.

Now that may seem like a lot of gobbledygook or it may seem like common sense, but the fact is as we start to develop our messages, it’s worthwhile to think through each of those concepts. When I say simple, I don’t necessarily mean brief however more often do the two go together.
So simple is reinforcing the concept of plain language and we had Dr. Bouer talk to us a few weeks ago about plain language and how to incorporate it in your planning and thinking and doing especially in a crisis situation. But messages that are simple are more easily retained.
Messages that are simple are less likely to be confused and messages that are simple help to reduce one of the major failures in communication and in crisis in that’s mixed messages. So the more simply we can say what we need to say, the more important it is.

And then timely, without question, we work with the media in part because they’re important component in our planning for getting information out quickly. There will be a struggle between getting information put together and satisfying the unique questions and needs of different media outlets in a crisis situation. So we should take, make an effort to anticipate the kinds of questions that are most important and start to work on those so that we can be timely in the release of information. You know, one of the basic crisis and emergency risk communication principles of course is be first and I harp on that a little bit because I don’t mean that you’re not necessarily the source of all information in the crisis situation but try to be first with information that should be release from your organization. Not about the whole context, but about the pieces of information that the public would expect to get from you.

And I was actually thinking about this and the webinar today on my long commute to work this morning. And I was thinking about some of the things that get in the way of us doing a better job when we want to release information to the public during a public health emergency or a crisis situation and I think what gets in the way sometimes is that we believe that we have to tightly control the timing of the release of all the information and that gets in the way at times. And I was thinking about some of the things that we do here at CDC that might help drive the conversation in a more positive way.

And what I’m saying is if we were talking about having an important development in a crisis or public health emergency that we wanted to release to the public, there may be one aspect of it or the headline related to it that you would be able to give out through social media or to a, through a media advisory to the media when you’re inviting them in to participate in a press conference or a media availability or a telebriefing with the media, whatever it is. Give them an idea of what it is that you’re bringing people together for and I think that that’s an important component in our planning that we often forget. Sometimes we’re so seriously interested in making sure no one breaks the story so to speak and by doing so, we leave ourselves open for hypotheticals and speculations where it’s not necessary. So tell people what you’re going to tell them and sometimes you tell them that and that’s the brief headline but then they’re coming back to you for more information. So you want to be the source of that information and that helps in terms of timeliness and being first and of course, accurate, again, as an official responding to a public health emergency or a public health crisis, it’s important that the information we do share is accurate.

And one of the ways that we are accurate is to give information out in increments, tell people what we know, but also tell people what we don’t know and then I think, especially as we look at the latest developments in the Zika response here within the United States and in other countries, we’re learning as we go. And we can be accurate but we have to timestamp some of the things that we say. So it’s important again, to share our content with people with the understanding that we’re learning more and things may change or be adjusted along the way.

CDC just this week released important new guidance, updated guidance and we call that guidance around Zika as Interim Guidance because we know we’re going to tweak it, we’re going to make adjustments to it along the way. And if you haven’t seen the latest updates, it’s worthwhile to get familiar with especially in relationship to sexual transmission and in testing of pregnant women for Zika domestically so those are important updates.

And we can stay accurate as long as we timestamp what we say and we make the point of letting people know that this is what we have for you right now, this is what we know right now. And I don’t know about you but I know sometimes I get confused when I come into a situation and I don’t realize the timeframe. Well when was this released? What, how was it done? In terms of operational response for communication, we’ve gotten out of the habit because of the way we update things electronically of doing timestamps and I think it’s worthwhile to do that so that when people are searching. And they may have saved something one place and they, and it’s updated someplace else that they know there’s a difference in time in terms of what is being said or not said.

And that helps all of us in terms of being accurate. Relevance, we’re going to talk in a minute about the questions and I know you’ve seen them before but there are certain questions we expect to be asked by the public in the media in any crisis situation and we should plan for that. Credibility, we talk about credibility as the combination of being trusted and being an expert, being perceived as an expert so that’s how we’re credible. And then consistent, I can’t stress enough how important it is for our messages to be consistent except I just told you that we have to anticipate changes.

But those things that are factual, that will stand attest the time need to be repeated in the same way over time so that people are reassured and they start to learn the things that are relevant to them in relationship to the public health crisis.

So the STARCC principle is a good way to think about our messaging as we develop them for media going forward. So what will the public ask? Well obviously they want to know are my family and I safe? They’re going to want to know what does this mean to me?  And that’s actually a wonderful way to start your thinking about developing materials to work with the media because the media are really proxy for our audiences. The media will ask the questions that the public would ask of us if they were in front of us, if they were able to get us on the phone. And we can see that reflected often times in social media and other ways that they’re asking the same questions the media are asking. They want to know how could this effect me? They want to know what do they need to do to protect them self or their family. They often want to know how did this happen and of course, what are you doing to fix it?

So those are common questions that we can expect from the public in a crisis situation. And then as things settle down and the uncertainty is managed, what we will have our questions that are a little more in depth about the situation itself and how it has come about and what we’re doing to help. And I sometimes keep the concept called SPAR. Now, this is pretty special and I don’t share this just with anyone but SPAR is when you’re trying to develop a message quickly, you have four elements to think about. You want SPAR is S is Situation, so you need to put those, put what you’re going to talk about in context to the environment of what’s going on.

P is for Problem, so you define the problem. A is for Action, so you give people things to do and R is Results. So you’re telling people if they take this action in relationship to this problem in this context situation, the result will be. And don’t think that people will automatically get to the idea of the result and if you, if you think it’s obvious the results will be that people will come to less harm, or there will be less on damage or death in the situation, don’t leave that on the table, actually build that into your messaging. We’re asking you to do this because of this problem and this will be the result if you do this and that’s helps people empower their own decision making because you’re giving them more information to work with.

So remember that when we are talking to people in crisis situations especially when there’s uncertainty or when they feel like they’re lives have turned upside down, something’s happening that they really didn’t think was going to happen. And you as experts in the response world may think how could they not think this could happen? We’ve been warning that this is possible, that this could happen. Sometimes we just don’t pay attention until the threat becomes personal and eminent. So even if you’re, you have been warning that something is headed their way, they may not feel like it until it is right on their door step. And when they come to us looking for information, the speed at which we speak to the public about the situation that they’re now very interested in, it’s a marker for our preparedness. So it helps to increase our credibility. They trust us more and we’re perceived as experts because we’re there with them when they need it along the way.

I want to stress the fact that as we work with the media, they have a unique role. I was recently involved in a public health emergency situation unrelated to Zika. And it was interesting because when the community was surveyed, it turned out that their perceptions of government were quite low which tends to track over time we have seen this that people don’t perceive the government positively. But their perception of the local media was actually quite high and so when they were asked, who do you want to get your information from they said they wanted it from the local media. When asked why it was because they trusted the local media to have their best interest at heart. I can’t change that dynamic in the situation but it’s worthwhile to know about it. And one of the things that we have to recognize is perceptions of government go up and down as we do well or don’t do well, but one of the sure fired ways to increase our trust if we are the government is to operate with complete openness and disclosure. That is hard to do on our best day but it’s particularly hard at times when we’re in a crisis situation and people are trying to determine what is a fact, what isn’t, what’s rumor, and what’s necessary, what’s relevant, and what isn’t in the situation. But if we always move towards the idea that we want to be more open and one of the ways that we can do this in a crisis is to share process so we may not have a lot of information but we do have things that we are doing and I think that this satisfies media often early on in the crisis situation. We can’t answer everybody’s question but what we can do is talk about process, let people in on what are we doing. We tend to want to after the crisis is over to do a laundry list of all the things that we accomplished. I would suggest that we start the laundry list a little sooner and not bore them with the details but at least acknowledge that there are things ongoing, that somebody’s doing something about this.

One of the things that frustrates people is that they have a sense of being, that things are out of control and if we’re the people responding to a crisis, if we explain to them that we are taking steps to help restore order in some way, that makes them feel better also and the media can help us with that message if we are open enough to share with reporters what it is that we’re doing.
We also know when we, when we survey the general public about emergency information and what they want, that they feel any information is empowering and that they benefit from substantive action steps so we can’t just tell people vaguely what to do, we need to be able to tell them something that’s relevant to protecting them and their loved ones in this situation. They prefer to have information plainly in English or whatever language that they receive information in and illustration and color. If you’re doing something online or in print, using illustrations and color, it’s not color just for the heck of it, it’s color to help people navigate through a process or information that they’re getting.

And I can remember so many years ago when I joined the military and I had to go through medical physical exam and they literally had, depending on who you were for what reason, they would tell you go follow the red steps, go follow the blue steps, and they have them right there on the floor, that was helpful for us. And so when you’re developing content online or printed content in an emergency situation, if you color code it to make sense for someone so you have particular range of information. It might be most important for pregnant women which might be different from a traveler, than change the color so that the pregnant woman knows that this message is going forward for them versus someone who is a traveler who may not be pregnant. Those sorts of things are helpful in a crisis situation as you’re preparing to talk to the media.
Writing for the media during a crisis is a little different. It is important to simplify whenever possible. I find that sometimes in our rush to get information out of the organization that we may not simplify the way we should and then again, we have to realize that the information needs to be shared in a way that people can suggest what there in available versus waiting for the whole thing and I just have this funny way of talking about it. It’s like cooking a turkey when people are starving. I don’t talk about that very often anymore but, because I since learned how to cook a turkey but before I knew how to cook a turkey, I always said well if you cook a turkey, the turkey wings will be ready first and if you have a room of starving people, you’re going to cut off the turkey wings and feed them because after all they’re starving, right? And then at some point the legs will get ready and then the whole turkey, carcass will be ready. I don’t know, I understand now that turkey legs may actually take longer than the turkey breast. That’s neither here nor there, but the fact is when you have something ready to give to people and they need it because the information is important to them, then go ahead and give them that little slice that you know is well done. And at some point you can wrap it all up and send the turkey out to them completely but just anticipate for them what they’re going to need and share with them what you can, what’s already ready for them.

We know that if something happens, something that could cause harm to a community in any way that it becomes a media event and there’s no question about it. Frankly we wouldn’t want to have a crisis or a public health emergency where we didn’t have media there with us because after all, all of our planning includes some role for media along the way. And media especially early on in the crisis situation are really powerful partners in helping us do what we have to do but they are not part of the response in a traditional sense and we need to know where the lines are and are not as we go forward. More than anything, I want response officials who are working with the media to know that their response official’s job is not the media’s job, the media’s job is not response official’s job. So we have to respect the boundaries or what the media are and are not at any time within the crisis situation. Though again, initially it’s going to feel like you’re hand in hand giving out information and plan for that along the way.

What we find sometimes that media, response officials want to tell the media what they should or shouldn’t do and only if there is a legal basis for that should we be doing that. What we need to know is that we should be trying whenever possible to give media equal access to the information. And that was a harder task years ago but now because of our digital ability to communicate through digital channels and through social media, it has really gotten easier to give media more equal access to the information. Now I’m not so silly as to think we’re going to give them equal access perhaps to a spokesperson because at some point you’re going to have to make decisions about how many people you have who are prepared to talk in a crisis situation and not take up all of their time doing interviews but still, the information can be provided. It may just not be to an interview process along the way. If it is possible, especially at the local level, to precedential media for access to your emergency operations center or your joint emergency operations center I think it’s a good idea to do so.

What I have found along the way that might get in the way of a successful relationship with media during a crisis, what’s different is that sometimes and I won’t name names but sometimes response officials tend to hold grudges. So they have favorites along the media and others that they don’t like so much but in a crisis situation, we have to rise above that because what we want to make sure is that people can receive information about that crisis in the media outlet that they’re most comfortable with. And so it’s not our job to decide whether one or another is the right media outlet. Our job is to make sure that people get this information.

I also find that when the entire world is interested in a crisis that’s occurring in your community, sometimes we can get star struck by the big names that show up to cover the event. And we fill up our dance card with some of the celebrity media and forget the local media who are there for us day to day and so it’s important to remember if you are a local community response official, make sure that you’re responding to your local media because after all they’re going to be there after the crisis leaves.

And then of course, do not tell the media what to do unless it’s your job as a PIO and even then you can tell them what they can’t do but you don’t tell them how to cover the event without couching it as a suggestion along the way but I have seen situations where response officials or PIOs can get pretty bossy and it’s really unnecessary. You’ll have to at some point trust that reporters know their media outlet and their audience and they know what they need for that audience.

So how do you work with reporters when the world is interested in you? It’s tough because frankly what reporters want from you is a seat to, a front seat to all of the action and all the information now. There is tremendous time pressure. Any of you who have worked in a crisis situation trying to respond to media know just how tough it will be. And it’s also, we need to do some preparation because if we prepare ahead of time and think through what really is the realty of what happens when the world isn’t paying attention to us in this moment, is if we prepare, we may save some of those relationships. And what I mean is that we can anticipate some of the questions and actually some questions may be a predictor of the line of questions that might start from it further down the road. So you should actually see if there isn’t some way to capture the kinds of questions that you’re getting from the media and if there is one off, analyze it. Where did this come from? Why is that happening? And start to share with each other because if you have a number of people answering media questions, instead of reinventing the wheel every time, answering the same question as if you’ve never heard it before, start to develop your question banks. So people can have the answers of those questions that might need to be tweaked or updated along the way but you’re not wasting resources by recreating the wheel day after day after day. So start a question bank and try and employ someone who has a little savvy in that topic area to look at the kinds of questions that are happening and share them along the way.
And we talked about if you don’t have answers to the questions that are pertinent and you do have the process and tell them the process.

Now, we’ve talked about what we should be doing in our relationship to the media during a crisis situation but I want to give you a sense of what happens with the media because they are after all people too. They’re concerned about their well-being. They have family that they may be caring about. They may be surprised by whatever threat it is that you’re managing and they’re going to have their own questions. But as a profession, there are also some things that tend to change and I find that this happens in small crisis that are being managed at the local media level and in big national and international crisis. And some of the things that changes that there tends to be a reduction in the verification of the facts meaning that media traditionally do try to verify information before they report it. In a crisis situation, they may not make an effort to verify it. They may only say I am hearing or this has been told to me and the information is going out unverified. The Poynter Institute in Florida which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to excellence in journalism has explained that in a crisis situation the media will reduce their level of verification in part because they see their role as news gathering and not just simply reporting.

So the media takes us along in their news gathering process and so they’re not going to apologize for having gotten it wrong and we all know that initially in an acute crisis, something that happens very quickly like say a plane crash or something like that, that the information that you hear initially isn’t going to be necessarily accurate and that they know that it’s going to change.
They don’t even bother often times to say this may change. They just change it as they get it updated. And we do get updates from them along the way. We can’t I think afford to do it quite the way that we, that they do. We need to try to verify information and have the facts before we share them but acknowledge where there isn’t a fact. This is just an understanding of the situation where we know it now.

Another way that media may be effective by crisis is that there’s a reduction of the adversarial role. I hinted toward that earlier as we were talking about developing messaging and beginning to work with the media. Early on in a crisis situation, the media are less out to be adversarial. Now what is the early part of a crisis? Let me define that. That is the point where there are more questions than there are answers where the community that they care about is truly at risk. The adversarial role goes down. As we move into the crisis where we have a better understanding of the magnitude of the crisis and we’re working towards fixing it, the adversarial role will kick back in. That’s the natural checks and balances of a free democracy. And we should appreciate that that’s going to happen and not be surprised and that is why I say we may act as if we are partners but in a response, the media are not partners in the official response. They have a very important role, but it is a role that they themselves control and they make the decisions when they are and to what degree they maybe adversarial in their role.

I just mentioned the ideas that we tend to discount local media sometimes in a crisis situation at the local level and there is typically national dominance so plan for that along the way. And then without question, if we have a complex perhaps public health crisis, that there may be a lack of scientific expertise among the media who are covering the crisis. We have I think a shrinking pool of reporters that here in the United States for example, who are really prepared to be knowledgeable about the work of public health to have deep medical or scientific expertise.
Those are probably the people who we work with routinely but in a crisis situation, you’re going to have many more reporters checking in with you and they may not have that scientific expertise.

And so then what do we do in that situation? We need to recognize that lack of scientific expertise as possible and do what we can to back up and help people get up to speed.
Don’t make assumptions about what a reporter knows in this situation. They’ll tell you very quickly. They’ll give you the secret handshake of jargon or whatever. They’ll let you know if they really know this stuff and you may know it through the very precise questions that they ask. If they have level of expertise it might not be apparent in other reporters along the way so just expect in media.

If a crisis occurs in a situation where people can come to the crisis or you have the emergency operation center, try to be as media friendly as possible. I know here at CDC that sometimes there are things going on in the emergency operation center that are sensitive because there might be privacy issues or information that is preliminary. But whenever possible, we try to make room for reporters to come in and watch our process of responding to a crisis situation and that goes a long way in helping people understand what is happening.

So try to be media friendly, try to respect that they have resource needs too, that they may need their quite place to file a story or something but think it through for your particular situation. And I had a very smart county executive who said to me in an interview one time as we were doing some work around crisis and emergency risk communication and he said if we’re not media friendly at the command post, they’re going to go someplace else. And frankly, we want them here so that they’re hearing the information that we want to share so we’re going do what we can to be media friendly. You might even want to give them a bottle of water every once in a while.

So that’s a little bit about working with the media. That was just to get us thinking about it. I think it’s really important for us to have a more robust discussion this afternoon and so Laura, if you could, I’d love it if we could open it up to comments or questions to the group and see what people are thinking.


Thank you. And at this time, if you would like to ask a question, please press Star followed by 1 on your touch tone phone. You will be prompted to record your name for proper registration. Your name is required to introduce your question. Once again, if you have a question, please press Star 1 and record your name clearly when prompted. One moment, please.

Barbara Reynolds:

While we’re waiting for someone to jump into the discussion or ask a question, I just want to remind everyone that we are soliciting for subject topic areas for our Zika CERC discussions going forward. And if you have a particular area of content that you would like to us to cover, please just send us an email at cercrequest@cdc.gov. Laura, do we have anyone ready to chat?


We have no questions. Again, if you have a question or comment, just press Star 1.

Barbara Reynolds:

While we’re waiting to see if somebody wants to jump into the conversation, I also want to stress that by doing a good job of working with the media in a crisis situation, we increase our trust worthiness by sharing information early and that’s an important component of what we try to do as officials in a crisis situation.

So Laura, we’ve given everybody a chance to think about it as well. Do we have any questions or comments?


Yes we do, thank you. The first question’s from (Jose Arbio). Your line is open.

Jose Arbio:

Yes. Good morning. I wanted to ask, and I appreciate what you’ve been saying, how do we get the, two things, how do we get to speed up the approval process for official statements and also the use of social media during these crisis’s to make sure they’re coordinating with what we’re saying during the crisis itself?

Barbara Reynolds:

Jose, I think those are really good questions and anybody on this call who has ever had to participate in an official response in a crisis is feeling your pain, me included because those are probably two of the more difficult things that we face.

So how do we get official statements cleared more quickly? What we need to do is to help people understand that we don’t have to answer everything from the very beginning and that has to do with some of the simulations and exercises that I hope you’re doing within your own organization. And frankly as a communicator, as a PIO, one of the first things that we can do is to try to set up some simple templates that basically acknowledge that the situation is going on, whatever the situation is, fill in the blank. I always say there’s three things that anybody should be able to say early on in the crisis. We should be able to say we’re aware of the situation and define it if you can. Our role is, so as an organization, we should always know if I mean, because we’re planning for crisis and so if we’re going to respond to it, we should know what our role is and the third thing should be our next step is. And if you took those three things and build out a template with that and try to get it approved through your incident management system, your current leadership who never has to officially clear those statements, get them used to seeing it ahead of time. Pushing it out to them every once in a while so that they see this is what we’re going to fill in initially because the idea is you have to break the log jam. You almost have to break the mental paralysis that can happen early on in the crisis situation where people are just afraid to pull the trigger and start to get information out there. And this is one of the ways to do it is give them a template that just has a little basic information and sort of readjust our regulator in our head so that we can go forward and start to release information.

I also think it’s important to give people deadlines to get people used to the idea that there is an expectation of information is going to have to be shared and give them a deadline. Give them an impossible deadline. I do it here. I say within 15 minutes we need to have something out. Well nobody’s going to get to the 15 minutes or if they do very seldom but it gets them set up a little bit in terms of that official statement and identify before a crisis who is it that actually has to clear this statement. Who has to review it along the way and as you start to hear that the problem is occurring, push that out and remind people this is who we’ll be going to for this information for this clearance.

And then in terms of social media, I think that the same things that I’m talking about in that initial statement, it wouldn’t unreasonable to try to get precleared the idea that what is going in the official statement will also be sent out through social media. I think that we all can learn to do better to use social media and public health emergencies as local governments and the place where I’m seeing it done most well is through schools. Schools who have emergencies because schools know, administrators of schools know that parents are not messing around. They want information about their children and they want it now. And they are able to use social media in a positive way so that they can tweet or put on the Facebook information about the crisis and parents are more conscious I think in staying tuned to those outlets and getting information from it. And so I would, I think, talk to some schools administrators in your community and see if they might have some tips on how they decided to do this. I think just the realities of some of the crisis that they had to deal with more than a decade ago and still do some times today has helped them.

So those are just some of my ideas Jose. I’m happy to open it up to others who might have other ideas and if you’d like to comment, go ahead.

Jose Arbio:

Well one thing, one thing I do know is when I first got here five years ago, the approval process was very bulky and my administration was very helpful in cutting it down. The other thing I was hoping, I know it’s a last, another comment but how to speak up to authority. I know you’re at the CDC and you’re well established there but for a lot of younger PIOs speaking up to administration is sometimes is a bit daunting.

Barbara Reynolds:

You know, you better believe it and I may have had a long career here at CDC and then also with the military before that and if you can imagine, there is a hierarchy in the military but there also is here too. I think that what I have learned is that it’s better to talk to them and tell them little bit about what they can anticipate in a crisis situation before it happens. Whenever possible, try to use the authority of others who have come before them, paint you know, the successes and failures of things that have happened before. And even if you’re new, you can learn the history of that organization and where it’s gone well and where it hasn’t. Make it personal to them why is it important to them and their administration to do this well.

You know, you think that everybody’s more media savvy than they really are, then them crisis occurs and you realize that they haven’t really thought that way but try to do it in a respectful way. There is safety in numbers so if you can align with someone else in your organization who understands the importance of getting information out quickly, use that to your benefit because it’s not just you saying it. There are other people echoing what you would say. Try to do that whenever possible. I do that sometimes when I want to speak here at CDC, I will use the value that comes from working with PIOs and state and local health departments and they say for me the things that need to be said. And then someday you’ll also have wrinkles and gray hair and people will just listen to you more easily. But until then, those are some ideas that I would use.

Jose Arbio:

Thank you.

Barbara Reynolds:

Laura, do we have any other questions or comments?


Yes. Our next question’s from Kelly Waters. Your line is open.

Barbara Reynolds:

Hey, Kelly.

Kelly Waters: 

Hey, Barbara. I was just wondering if you could explain a bit more about national dominance.

Barbara Reynolds:

Sure. So what I have found is that when a crisis occurs, you need to know you’re in a local community and that’s where the crisis is occurring. The national media will pick it up and start to report it and most everyone is getting their information from a national outlet. And there are times even when a national feed, it depends on how big of a crisis it is, but where a national feed will preempt local programming on the subject. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, don’t be surprised by it and think in terms of for the community how are you going to get additional information. It will often, the coverage will often be more of what does it mean to a larger audience, a national audience if the crisis is bad enough and it won’t be what does it mean to me in the local community. So I just encourage local response officials to think in terms of how do they work with their local media and what could or couldn’t happen to them. But sometimes they get preempted and they need to recognize that.

It often is the case that national media has more resources. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true today but they may then dominate. I have worked with some of our news networks that are 24 hour outlets and I will tell you that I may hear from four or five producers from the same outlet producing different shows and so there’s a dominance in that regard because they’re more demanding for more things. And that can get in the way sometimes too. Those are just some ideas of where I think national dominance comes into play.

Kelly Waters:

Great. Thank you.

Barbara Reynolds:

Laura, do we have any other questions or comments?


We have no further questions.

Barbara Reynolds:

Okay good. Well again, I’m very sorry that we got a late start today on this topic. Next week we are going to go back to and revisit some of the things that we want to keep in mind in our planning for a first local case, a first case of Zika through local transmission and I look forward to talking to you all next week. Thanks, Laura.


Thank you. This does conclude today’s conference. We do thank you for your participation. You may disconnect your lines at this time.

Page last reviewed: July 26, 2016 (archived document)