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Communicating with honesty, integrity and empathy in an emergency



Session Overview

In this session from the 2020 GovComms Festival, we hear from our three panellists on the topic of crisis communications and the history of crisis communications in Australia.

On this panel are the following speakers:

  • Jeremy Lasek, the Communications/Marketing Advisor at Proximity
  • Mark Crosweller, the Director of Ethical Intelligence
  • Andrew Bell, Senior Producer at ABC Australia

Andrew Bell is the facilitator of this panel.

The panel address the main ‘dos and don’ts’ of crisis communication. Mark explains the importance of getting as much information out as possible during a crisis. He also explains why communications professionals should be honest about what they do and don’t know.

Jeremy discusses why communications professionals must attempt to fill the information space in a crisis immediately, before other people step in. Communications professionals cannot create a vacuum of information in the middle of a crisis.

Mark explains why it is important to accept the inevitability of crisis, and ensure leaders understand the importance of planning for a crisis before it happens. Meanwhile, Jeremy discusses the usefulness of scenario planning and simulation. Jeremy explains why the government ran a simulation of a pandemic in 2006, and why it had not done so since.

Jeremy talks about his experience dealing with the devastating 2003 Bushfire Season in the ACT, as well as the role of the media during this event. Mark explains why he believes media has improved in the area of crisis communications since the early 2000s.

After watching this video, you will:

  • Understand the main tips and tricks of crisis communication in Australia.
  • Explain the role of the media in the middle of a crisis, with reference to specific examples of crises in Australian history.
  • Appreciate the role of communications professionals in times of crisis.


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