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Communication during Times of Crisis

Leandro Fernández Miró wrote an article in CiComunica titled Haiti, NGOs and Communication, which I found interesting and worthy of sharing. Leandro presents critical arguments of the media during times of crisis, and presents an alternative way to improve journalism. The following is a summary of the most important and controversial parts of the article ...

     "In times of crisis, who are best suited to provide news, international news sources or the local reporters? When the earthquake occurred in Haiti, we received coverage of the disaster by international media outlets, such as BBC and The New York Times, which reported the news as if the catastrophe was a morbid spectacle. Where were the NGOs during this time of crisis? NGOs in Haiti, which know the terrain and its inhabitants, would have been the most fit to report the news, however NGOs did not emerge as sources of information during the last earthquake in Haiti. Not withstanding, the news reports that were published were directed to the outside world and tried to create an image of solidarity. Meanwhile, Haitian people stayed in the dark without the latest update of what was happening in their own country. Sometimes there is more communication directed at people who are not in the country in crisis, than there is for people actually living in the country.

     "If we are in Haiti for x amount of time. .." why do we not use the sites to provide useful information for the people affected? Or Haitians living abroad? They should also be our audience. Or better yet, we should be facilitating opportunities for dialogue between users as equal persons. "

     It should be considered, among other things, adapting the communication style to correspond to each event and audience. We can achieve better communication using the tools of this new millennium. Social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, can serve as an easy mode of communication. At times, communication must be achieved through different means when considering an NGO versus a multinational company. For example, Veterinarians Without Borders used Internet tools to report on Haiti in its website. The report was important because it spread quickly and provided coverage from the point of view of the indigenous people. The report was not created to "save face before the cameras," but to inform the public of the region and the world abroad. The Internet provides certain advantages, but sometimes we leave out some key information in our quick methods which results in poor communication.

     To put it succinctly, the author writes, "We need to modify the journalism communicative model, which divides people between object and audience and keeps them isolated to serve as sole interlocutor. The road begins with breaking down the barriers between the departments of communication and education for better development and cooperation."

El link del artículo original es:

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