Proactive communication key during Cyclone Fani, MSU expert says


Expert Pitch

As India braces for Cyclone Fani, government officials and media organizations should be planning communication strategies to keep people informed, says Bruno Takahashi, associate professor of journalism at Michigan State University, who studies communication during natural disasters.

"In this type of situation it is impossible for official sources to control the spread of information and misinformation," he said. "What they could do is to be proactive and send a clear and simple message that people can easily understand and put in action. The level of trust is important also, so government officials need to make sure the message comes from the most trustworthy source.

 "On the flip-side, residents should be careful what sources of information they follow. Many people rely on social media, so a good strategy is to follow trusted media sources, journalists working in those orgs, and governmental accounts."

Takahashi, who recently received a grant to study journalists' response during Hurricane Maria, said people have become immune to warnings, and little can be done now to evacuate.

Takahashi can be reached at (517) 432-2454 and btakahas@msu.edu.

MSU has an ISDN line. 

 

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