Tag: #aid

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

It is not common enough; the Chief Executive of a company apologises, and apologises in a way that seems genuine. Nowadays, how often does this happen in the corporate and political worlds? Aggressive business leaders, and overly-confident politicians appear to be the common currency. So, here it is again, the Uber CEO apology, http://bit.ly/2htTKTP . Aside from the important debate over Uber’s ways of operating, from a crisis communications perspective this is effective. It’s about admitting fault and taking responsibility. These seem to be major hurdles for corporates amid a crisis. Ok, so it’s not clear what exactly the CEO is apologising for, but at least it is a sign of some humility and a good start as Uber unfurls its crisis communication plan.

Tackling rumours after Hurricane Irma

Predictably, sadly, the ‘rumour mill’ in the wake of Hurricane Irma is working at full speed. The problem of rumours is recognised by the US government, hence their helpful website. It’s a big challenge now for aid agencies and governments to ensure people receive correct information and information that will shape lives for the better, especially as communities work out how to recover from Hurricane Irma.

Given the devastation to so many lives and livelihoods caused by Hurricane Irma, the last thing that people need is wrong information. Quality information transforms how people are able to move on and rebuild their lives.  However, it is a big task to counter the swirling information flows on the web; information flows that can too often be misleading. It is a massive issue on the web and social media; too many people serving up incorrect information and too many people unable to sift through what they see and read and then double or triple source the authenticity of so-called facts. We are hearing this so often. It’s a recurring theme in political debate. The costs of spreading wrong information can be immense. We may never have thought it some years ago, but the need for everyone to be ‘media literate’ is so important. We all build our information universe online. People need to know how to do this. Too many do not. Too many feed on rumour and falsifications. They feed on creating their ‘Daily Me’, reading sources they tend to agree with rather than seeking diversity and fact-checking, double or triple-sourcing from authentic places, what’s put to them. Courses in media literacy have real practical value.

Showcase return on investments

It’s about demonstrating a return on investments. Nowadays, everyone is potentially a journalist. Mobile phones enable us to film what’s happening before us and record decent sound (if you know what you’re doing). This is a blessing and a curse. For the development sector, it’s terrific. It means showing your results, of ‘aid in action’, improving lives of the more vulnerable has never been easier. The costs of gathering multimedia content have been drastically reduced. This is especially helpful for smaller non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who sometimes believe it is harder for them to cut through when they are competing in a crowded campaigning space alongside much larger organisations. It all means smaller NGOs can more easily punch above their weight, especially if their programmes are community-focussed, which is not always the case for larger organisations, including the UN sector. So, showcase results of ‘aid in action’, of when aid is making an impact and improving the lives of the more vulnerable. Interestingly, more and more journalists in diverse media markets are calling for exactly this; proof of aid working. No longer are they wowed by large donations in the development sector. The first question is often: “Can you take me to a community where I can interview those who are benefitting from these large donations?”.  It’s all about demonstrating a return on investments.

The challenge posed by data

The use of figures, or data, in media interviews and public speaking is increasingly contentious. The first point, of course, is that any data referred to must be accurate. This, in itself, has become a hot topic. Data can be misused. Then, once we know a piece of data is accurate there is the need to make sure your data makes sense, or resonates, with your target public(s). Too, too often, data is banded around in a way that is meaningless. Simply quoting million or billions of something doesn’t actually mean much to most people. You have to make sure your figures hit home. How do you do this? Recent thinking is providing us with new ways of offering up key data. The need to know how to do this is of premium importance. This became abundantly clear in our most recent media training course with public health advocates drawn from across the world. How often do you use data and how do you serve up data? Big questions now being answered.