Communication: Messaging and Media in this phase of Pandemic

Communication: Messaging and Media in this phase of Pandemic

As we are Staying Home and Staying Safe we are discovering new ways of being church.  And we are discovering again the most essential elements of being the Body of Christ. 

Shock and Survival occupy our energy and emotions in the first phase of disaster.  And we will move in and out of that for awhile.

But we are also encountering another phase: Adapting and Thriving in a new normal.  We’ll be talking a lot about that in the coming days and weeks.  In the meantime, this is also a moment to rethink our communication and messaging within and, particularly, beyond our walls.   
John Hargrave, a member of our UCC church in Wellesley Hills, runs a media and communication company that specializes in creatively and effectively simplifying complex messages.  He has provided us a blog with links to some excellent and freely available advice and resources on how our churches can help spread the message to slow the spread of the pandemic.  Even as we spread the message of God’s love and presence.  You can find this blog here.

And as the impact of this virus deepens you may find media turning to you for your perspective on the situation and on local stories.  It will be helpful for churches to have a plan in place:   Here is some wisdom collected over the years by your Disaster Resource and Response Team:
Inquiring Minds Will Want to Know:  Guidance for working with Press and Media during a disaster. 
Media lives for stories.  They want to share the news.  They want facts and they want human interest. 
Your church may be approached to give its opinion or reaction to either a global or local story.
That could be more urgent if the virus spreads through your congregation, or death impacts your members. 
Your Disaster Resources and Response Team developed some media guidelines a few years back when disaster swept through our communities and folks wanted to know how to work with media who approached them for information or quotes. 

You will find a helpful article written by a pastor who has had a former career working with a media group (Rev. Estelle Margarones)

The key here is to have a plan that is communicated to your leadership and membership. 
  • Make sure all your leadership and membership know who will be the designated spokesperson for your congregation. 
  • Ensure that everyone will direct press and media questions to the church’s spokesperson
  • Ensure that your leadership has developed a clear and consistent message or set of talking points which are the relevant and respectful information so that the spokesperson knows what to share. 
  • Knowing that press and media may only convey a portion of what you have shared with them, consider developing the relevant and respectful information into a statement that can be released to the press. 


Don H. Remick

Don Remick is Bridge Conference Minister.

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