Monday, October 13, 2014

Ebola "breach in protocol" - when bandwagon terms can leave the public in the dark

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, CDC (Sunday 10/13/14)

At some point, there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection.”
"The (Ebola treatment) protocols work. ... But we know that even a single lapse or breach can result in infection.”

Bandwagon Terms; Definition
When experts introduce a technical / scientific term and the media and other communicators use it widely…without every really explaining what the term means.
This commonly occurs during complex emergencies.


Term:  “Spores”
“Seven days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, anonymous letters laced with deadly anthrax spores began arriving at media companies and congressional offices.”

H1N1 2009
Term:  Novel Virus

2012 Hurricane Sandy East Coast
 Term: “Storm Surge”

Dealing for Bandwagon Terms
While we want new, technical terms, to be acquired and used by the public, it's important to facilitate that learning.
       Think through what technical terms are critical in order to understand key messages,
       Decide in advance what technical terms you want the public to become familiar with
       Introduce these terms with a definition that fits the modality: speaking, writing, visuals.

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