Communicators play a critical role during a public health crisis.
In this current global crisis, the result of the coronavirus (COVID-19), PR professionals are uniquely positioned to guide communications and offer resources to the public as they navigate a dearth of information.
PRSA and the PRSA Health Academy are sharing basic guidelines for the public relation professional (see below and on the infographic). These are designed to help PR pros initiate and support factual conversations in their community and with internal and external audiences:
- Be transparent. Respect builds and reinforces credibility.
- Be truthful. Honesty is fundamental to gaining and maintaining public trust.
- Be timely. Establish a sound and regular communication path as an authentic and accurate source.
Understanding media literacy
Understanding and verifying sources, related to any issue, is critical — especially in times of crisis — reminds the PRSA and PRSA Academy. The digital age is filled with false information, misinformation and disinformation, so consider these points when seeking trustworthy sources:
- Avoid single-source news and seek out multiple major media outlets with varying views.
- Identify established, authentic expertise and think critically — is the source credible?
- Verify and cross-check material through multiple sources.
Here are some reliable resources related to the COVID-19 outbreak:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Find up-to-the-minute global facts, figures and recommendations here. WHO also offers advice for the public and answers frequently asked questions.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Research U.S.-specific facts, figures and recommendations for prevention and treatment from medical experts here. The CDC also provides many communication resources.
Other valuable resources include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Posted with permission from the PRSA.
Photo credit: Denver Post