Heading Off Misinformation With a Collaborative Approach
The internet is rife with misinformation. During the COVID pandemic, when we’re all desperate for facts, getting the wrong information can have consequences for communities.
For Hartford HealthCare, a seven-hospital health system serving Connecticut and parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, a collaborative approach allowed the communications and marketing teams to disseminate valuable information across multiple channels quickly.
“Even though we were going through this together with our community, we had a responsibility to inform the public,” says Tina Varona, director of media relations at Hartford HealthCare.
At the outset of the pandemic, the media relations team hosted daily media briefings, in which infectious disease experts and hospital administrators gave updates to local media. But when the health system decided to suspend in-person news conferences, the team quickly pivoted — working closely with social media director Melissa Dethlefsen to begin hosting virtual news conferences.
Hosted in the health system’s news studio, the conferences were broadcast on Facebook Live.
They served as an opportunity for local news agencies to connect with experts and ask pertinent questions about the coronavirus. Through the daily news conferences, members of Hartford HealthCare’s own communications teams were able to submit questions and draft articles, conference recaps, and fact sheets.
“Our communications team would also watch the Facebook Live news conferences and write an article that would go in our news hub. That article would serve as a recap for those who would prefer to read an article instead of watching an entire briefing,” Dethlefsen says. After the conference, the team would also send a link to the video to local news stations and newspapers, who could use the clips in their reporting.
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