Monday, March 14, 2011

Bad Emergency Communications

Heard on the BBC World Service tonight, one journalist's assessment of the information coming out regarding the nuclear plant issues in particular:

"They are trying to not tell the truth without lying."

That's a harsh statement, and speaks to both a fear (personally for some of the journalists on the ground) and a perception. That's a worse-case response from the media -- you've pretty much failed to get through both critical info and you've lost your credibility.

It was a very polite and British way of calling out the Japanese authorities.

Certainly not the way they teach it in FEMA course work for Public Information Officers -- life-safety comes first, and the context of the quote was that the officials were not being forthcoming about how bad the situation is. In their defense, perhaps the fear is causing a panic.

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