For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Misinformation and the Role of Risk Communication During COVID-19

people in masks looking at phones

May 28, 2020

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, the Dornsife School of Public Health hosted a webinar, “Misinformation and the Role of Risk Communication During COVID-19” as a part of the series "Emerging Issues in the Coronavirus Pandemic."

Speakers including Tom Hipper, MSPH, MA, program manager, Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication at Dornsife, Jennifer Manganello, PhD, MPH, professor, University at Albany's School of Public Health, and Philip Massey, PhD, MPH, associate professor of community health and prevention at Dornsife, discussed various examples of emergency COVID-19 communications – the good and the bad – and shared best practices for these complex situations. 

From national communication efforts of the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to local government’s responses in states and cities, Hipper and Manganello shared examples and insights on what was done effectively and what has created confusion.

Specifically, social media, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or even TikTok, is a tool for informing the public. “Social media now has a massive role in getting out risk communications, but also it has a role in spreading misinformation,” said Manganello. 

Now more than ever, with many mediums available, risk communicators must disseminate information fast and accurately while combating misinformation.

Hipper stressed the importance of acknowledging the unknown and delivering all of the available information no matter how scary.

“We should never withhold facts or information or bad news out of fear that the public is going to panic,” says Hipper. “It does the public a disservice.”

Watch the webinar

Learn more about the webinar series