Crisis and Risk Communication and the Flint Water Crisis

I have to assume (from the fact that you’re reading this blog) that you, too, have been following the Flint, Mich., water crisis (#FlintWaterCrisis is a good place to start, if not). It has been changing every day and is a textbook example of a crisis and risk communication case study: a mid-sized, mostly poor, […]

The Empathy Message: Say it Like You Mean it

With all the practices and pitfalls of communicating during crisis, few things are more fundamentally important to effective communication than expressing sincere empathy to those affected. Yet somehow genuine expressions of empathy during crisis and critical incidents are rare. Don’t get me wrong, I see and hear no shortage of canned, cliché, box-checking statements but […]

6 Reasons New Orleans Loves the Coast Guard, 10 Years Later

Note: This was adapted from a piece published in March 2014, called “Silver Linings, Federal Response to Katrina,” and is the first of four pieces we’ve put together for the 10-year anniversary of Katrina. Brandon and I reported to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Public Information Assist Team the summer of 2005. Our team was in the disaster zone from […]

6 Reasons People Say Bad Things About You

“Yeah, Well, You Know, That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man.” * The American news media has always been about recording, contextualizing and transmitting opinions to readers, listeners and viewers. It’s nothing new. The thirst for opinion is so real, that many organizations stress to their spokespeople to “just stick to the facts” when giving interviews. […]

Social Media Emergency Management Basics from Everyday Life

Recently my wife and I met up with several friends at our place and walked to the neighborhood craft brewery for conversation and beer sampling. A local food truck was stationed outside, and menus were placed here and there on the tables in the brewery tasting room – patrons could order high-end food from the truck […]

Incident Commanders and Strategic Comms

I recently spoke at a two-day all-hazard crisis incident response seminar in Berkeley, Calif., titled, “Thriving in the First 96 Hours.” Among other activities, I took part in a leadership panel to field questions about crisis communications. This is the last post in a series that has been adapted from my short responses to questions on the […]