Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Value of Sharing Information

Decisions about when to release information externally or internally depend, in large part, on the situation. However, commands should understand that there can be negative consequences of holding onto information. Here are some reasons why to release information as early as possible:
  •  The U.S. public, Congress and the media are entitled to “truthful, timely and accurate” information about the military, per the DoD Principles of Information.
  • Early release of information sets the pace and tone for resolution of a problem.
  • If you wait, the story will often leak anyway. When it does, you jeopardize trust and credibility – yours, the command’s and the Navy’s.
  • You can better control the accuracy of the information if you are the first to present it. If the story gets out incorrectly, it will remain incorrect.
  • There is more likely to be time for meaningful public involvement in decision-making if the information is released promptly.
  • Prompt release of information, including visual information, about one situation may prevent similar situations elsewhere.
  • Less work is required to release information early than to respond to inquiries, attacks, misinformation, etc., which might result from a delayed response.
  • If you wait, people may feel angry and resentful about not learning of the information earlier.
  • People are more likely to overestimate the risk if you hold onto information.

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