Timeliness and Accuracy

Kay Golan
Former Director of Media Relations
Office of Communication
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The first thing you must focus on is releasing information in a very timely way. Timeliness and accuracy will always be in a dynamic tension between each other. The media will be asking you the questions that you are asking yourselves internally at the same time. Sometimes they'll even ask them before you've begun to ask them. So there is a tendency to think, "Oh, we're not quite ready to release that," but it's absolutely critical that you release what you know and that you put something out at minimum on a daily basis and depending on the level of the crisis it could be two, three times a day. It's also important that you look for new information that can be released. If you don't have new case numbers or new, what you would consider from a public health standpoint, really critical information to the public then release some process information, something about how you're going about doing your job.