Author: Barbara Gormley – Dublin City University, Ireland
The facilitation of media communication is a fundamental and strategic necessity during pandemic risk situations as public health agencies rely on news media to relay accurate and important health messages for the containment and control of the disease and assurances on possible outcomes. Public interest and demand for accurate information during risk situations acutely increases, as people necessitate clear and timely answers from expert sources to critical and often complex questions, to confine immediate fears and acquire instruction. The ability of response officials to communicate in a way that connects with those listening can crucially – reduce morbidity and mortality. Research shows that during a health emergency when officials are attempting to galvanize the population to take a positive action or refrain from a harmful act, an open style of communication that secures the public’s trust is most effective. Numerous studies indicate that trust is a vital component of any crisis strategy, as public suspicions in general of scientific experts and governments is increasing. Current research surrounding public engagement of science-related issues and trust in scientific communications suggest, a paradigm shift from the Deficit Model of Communication where lack of understanding and public skepticism arises from a knowledge deficit and communications that focus on improving the transfer of accurate information from experts to non-experts to fill this deficit, to a more stakeholder inclusive approach where assessing scientific risk is based on many factors as well as the scientific ‘facts’.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.
Presentation type: Idea in progress
Area of interest: Building a theoretical basis for science communication