Rumor control center


Rumor control center

Rumor control centers are public-service operations designed to help publicize true information (assuming, of course, that there is any such thing) in times of crisis, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or civil disturbance. A major function is to operate a call center to respond to inquiries from concerned citizens, generally prompted either by rumors or a lack of information about what is happening. Permanent rumor control centers serve a specific, local population, and have often been set up in response to specific incidents.

Modern communications channels, such as local Internet sites and regional 24-hour news channels may have begun to obviate the need for such operations. On the other hand, technologies like e-mail, instant messaging, and text messaging, make it easier for alarming rumors to spread in times of crisis.

Examples

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has a permanent Rumor Control Center [http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=3070] .

Alachua County, Florida has a Rumor Control Center which was activated in 1990, after the serial murders of five local college students [http://communityservices.alachua.fl.us/new/crisis/services.htm] .

The United States Community Relations Service (part of the Department of Justice) uses rumor control teams when mediating domestic racial conflicts [http://www.beyondintractability.org/m/rumor_control.jsp] .

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security has public emergency information distribution plans which include rumor control centers [http://www.iowahomelandsecurity.org/asp/programs/CoWideHazardplan/(08)%20Anx-d.doc] .

External links

* [http://www.beyondintractability.org/m/rumor_control.jsp Rumor Control] - an extensive article from the Beyond Intractability Knowledge Base Project at the University of Colorado
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1906581 Rumor Control] - a discussion with the director of Baltimore's Rumor Control Center


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