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May 03, 2010


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David Henderson

Excellent post, David. In this digital era, real-time communications - crisis messages and otherwise - are essential. There is no such thing as a "news cycle." Interesting, isn't it, how municipalities are doing such an outstanding job, whether the Boston area or here in the DC area, where we have a superb area-wide communications service, Arlington Alert, free and available to anyone. In many ways, their work outshines that of many corporations and PR agencies.
Keep up the terrific work!

Lisa Gualtieri

I agree with you about the crisis communications - up to a point. I think that a number of channels were used to inform people including highway signs. Although some internal communications were the fastest - in my case I heard about it first through Tufts, where I teach. The part that was missing was the more detailed information about what to do and what the health risks are. Not seeing much online at the few places I looked, I reminded myself of what I was told before traveling to China about tap water. This is part of a broader problem of informing people in an effective and meaningful way what to do to prevent health problems. H1N1 communication was an example of that (http://lisagualtieri.com/2009/08/29/webmd-gets-an-a-for-swine-flu-guide-and-a-c-for-guide-to-never-feeling-tired-again/) where the CDC had current, accurate information, as did many state public health departments, but WebMD did a much better job of actually answering people's questions. Here too, there were many questions that people had that were not being answered as part of this crisis communication.


The MWRA has always done a great job handling crisis. @TomLee451 was their spokesman when the unfortunate deaths occured in the outfall tunnel at Deer Island back in the summer of 1999. That was before digital media but their response was still something we can all learn from. It's interesting to hear Tom's narration and have him talk about how plans today have to be developed with a strong emphasis on digital media.

Here is a post he authored about the deaths and the evolution of crisis communications: http://tinyurl.com/nunfyf

Fred Kapoor

I couldn't have said it better than @David Henderson. Nowadays even when the communications are supposed to be complete due to the increasing amount of gadgets invented for that purpose, sometimes the messages are still not delivered in the right way, so communication should be taken into consideration by us all as an important matter.

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