The United States Department of Health & Human Services developed these avian influenza and pandemic influenza communication tools using the communication science-based message mapping development process.
“Message maps” are risk communication tools used to help organize complex information and make it easier to express current knowledge. The development process distills information into easily understood messages written at a 6th grade reading level. Messages are presented in 3 short sentences that convey 3 key messages in 27 words. The approach is based on surveys showing that lead or front-page media and broadcast stories usually convey only three key messages usually in less than 9 seconds for broadcast media or 27 words for print. Each primary message has three supporting messages that can be used when and where appropriate to provide context for the issue being mapped.