ABSTRACT

Public Communications: Vital Link to Maintaining the Public's Trust During Crisis   [open pdf - 154KB]

This report is part of chapter five of five chapters in the series: Threats at Our Threshold: Homeland Defense and Homeland Security in the New Century: A Compilation of the Proceedings of the First Annual Homeland Defense and Homeland Security Conference. The following is taken from the introduction of the report: "Pick up a daily newspaper; turn to any national news broadcast; type in the web address for your favorite Internet search engine. What you find from these sources is a smorgasbord of crises du jour. Several recent examples: A website claims that seven National Football League gridiron stadiums will be attacked with radiological dirty bombs. NFL stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland. Fortunately, only a hoax, the FBI states. What was initially thought to be another 9/11 attack over New York City turned out to be a tragic aircraft accident taking the life of New York Yankee pitcher, Cory Lidle, who crashed into a 50- story apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Within moments of the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-121, taking off the pad in Florida, on July fourth North Korea was making their own holiday fireworks launching seven missiles, one a long- range type. For several frightening moments their final impact points were unknown. Was the United States a target? Daily, at local, state and federal levels, there are situations that cause the public affairs (PA) community to rapidly decide to engage or to not engage in public communications. The instant information age in which we work and live with Internet access nearly everywhere from homes to offices, from airports and coffee shops to mobile devices now hanging from ears of driver--is jammed with components that bring news and information rapidly to our citizens. The potential downside for the PA practitioner is there is little time to execute crisis strategic communication plans and be responsive to an onslaught of public inquiry. In the future, the speed and flow of information will continue to increase requiring organizations to use all the tools of a 21st century society when addressing, affecting and assessing public opinion."

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Threats at Our Threshold: Homeland Defense and Homeland Security in the New Century: A Compilation of the Proceedings of the First Annual Homeland Defense and Homeland Security Conference
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