Coronavirus: What Voices Should We Listen To In These Uncertain Times?March 16, 20202 min read
Our smartphones, social media accounts, televisions and radios are clogged with information about COVID-19. Some is good information. Much is bad.
So which voices do we listen to during this uncertain time of pandemic?
Baylor University’s Marlene Neill, Ph.D., APR, associate professor of journalism, public relations and new media, is an expert on public relations ethics and management, and integrated communications.
In this brief Q&A, she shares some tips to discover which voices to trust and follow during a crisis.
Q: In this time of confusion and mixed messages, what are some steps people should take to find credible and consistent content and updates regarding Coronavirus?
A: I used to work in city government and worked very closely with public health district officials. I prefer to seek out information from official government agency sources such as the CDC, public health district officials, physicians and epidemiologists. A good example is the CDC's coronavirus site.
Local newspapers also have set up informational pages regarding local closures and cancellations. I personally am very skeptical of information I see on social media claiming to be from someone who experienced the coronavirus in another country or others whose credentials are unknown.
Q: What are some characteristics of trustworthy messages?
A: I trust information from credible sources in the medical community and public health. The information should be consistent with that reported by these official government sources. If you are unsure, double check online rumor websites such as snopes.com or consult official government websites.
We need to start with doctors, epidemiologists and public health officials. This is their area of expertise and they want people to be properly informed to protect themselves and our communities.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
Marlene Neill, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media
Professor Neill's research interests include internal communication, public relations management and ethics