Communicating on risk-related issues is a challenge under the best of circumstances. The public and the media are rarely guided by a strictly empirical approach to assessing
risk: "Based on the facts, how likely is X to harm me, and what harm is it likely to cause?" In a crisis, as the stakes are raised, the communications challenge escalates.
Audiences demand immediate information about the risk, what's being done and who's to blame. To further complicate matters, some experts believe a crisis environment may make
people less inclined than usual to fully consider the facts before coming to judgment. In such situations, they argue, we are more likely to fall back on "mental shortcuts" - what
some people call intuition.