In addition to necessity, the usefulness of the measures also needs to be better explained, Dorsma says: “Research from the RIVM Behavioral Unit shows that these two are the most important, but these ideas have not been sufficiently listened to.”
For what do we do it?
It is not enough to say that the measures will relieve pressure on health care: “You have to tell us how the drug of your choice ensures that and to what point we are working towards it.” What is the directed R number, and for what hospital occupancy can we relax? Dates must be earlier, not dates. This has been tried before with road maps, but it hasn’t actually been used.”
The purpose of the press conference is not clear enough, others believe. “It’s called a press conference, but is it for journalists who use it to explain later, or as direct speech to citizens?” asks Corinne Matser.
“This is often an endless list of technical details,” says risk communication professor Danielle Timmermans. “But it’s about the bigger story. The choices that were made need to be made clear and there has to be accountability for that.”
There is no technical briefing
“Just start announcing the measures,” says science journalist Dedrick Jekyll. During the Corona crisis, he made videos on his YouTube channel explaining the measures and their necessity in an understandable way, including after the last press conference.
Mark Rutte often starts off with a lengthy introduction before he goes over the proceedings. Before the reporters’ questions begin, Rutte and De Jonge can talk for 20 minutes. Jekyll: “Reinforcements are not good, press conferences are taking a long time.”
Here’s how Jekyll sums up his latest YouTube press conference in a simple way:
“Lifelong zombie fanatic. Hardcore web practitioner. Thinker. Music expert. Unapologetic pop culture scholar.”