"Panic in the Streets: Historical reflections on fear-based media messaging during acute public health crises"
Nancy Tomes, Distinguished professor of History, Stony Brook University
In public health, fear-based campaigns are regarded (rightly so) with caution and concern because their side effects of stigma and scapegoating can be so toxic. Those worries have been shaped by an awareness of the formidable power of traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV) and now the “new” social media to amplify public health messaging in unexpected and undesirable ways. In this talk, Tomes will present a brief history of what she terms the “panic problem” in American public health practice to stimulate a discussion of these questions: how do we motivate people to act in a public health crisis without inducing some degree of fear? Is there a place for healthy fear in public health messaging today and if so, what would it look like?
This is the virtual component of our hybrid event.