Presentation on theme: "Gimme Shelter: Weathering the Media Storm of a Cheating Scandal."— Presentation transcript:
Gimme Shelter: Weathering the Media Storm of a Cheating Scandal
Speakers Steve Addicott Vice President, Client Services Caveon Test Security Ray Nicosia Executive Director of the Office of Testing Integrity Educational Testing Services (ETS) Faisel Alam Test Security Specialist Law School Admission Council (LSAC)
Agenda The Medias Perspective, Steve Everything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You, Ray Test Security and the Media, Faisel
morally bankrupt cultureI think there is a morally bankrupt culture there, Mr. Duncan said, referring specifically to Atlanta, where a recent government probe found that 44 schools and 178 teachers and principals had been faking test scores for the past decade. August 25, 2011
HEADLINES WE WONT SEE 99% of Teachers Toil Tirelessly to Educate Your Kids 20% of College Students Surveyed Admit That They Would Never Cheat! Vast Majority of Doctors Discovered Studying Diligently to Pass Boards Honorably!
WHAT MOTIVATES A JOURNALIST? Not trying to bring people down Sell Advertising Increase Circulation Respond to Political Pressures Journalism is HYPER-Competitive - Print, TV, Radio - Blogs, websites, Social Media
WHY IS CHEATING SO SALACIOUS? Its a (FILL IN THE BLANK) issue - emotional - ethical - (in many cases) political It affects public trust It affects public safety
WHAT REPORTERS SHOULD KNOW… BUT PROBABLY DONT How to work with percentages and other numbers Understand the differences between median, mean, and mode Identifying meaningful gains in scores Conduct basic statistical analyses on test scores (really?)
GOOD REPORTERS WILL… Hold subjective judgments in check Report from objective measures Test scores Confirmed incidents of test fraud Past school performance Teacher turnover Build relationships with sources they can trust However…
SINCE MANY REPORTERS CANT MEET THE CRITERIA OF GOOD Unable to hold subjective judgments in check… Arm yourself with facts Prepare speaking points AHEAD OF TIME News organizations regularly utilize databases and spreadsheets Sort, summarize, analyze, and publish Test scores, pass rates, etc YOU SHOULD, TOO
A REPORTERS RECOMMENDATIONS Dont wait and be reactive Be proactive Press releases Provide talking points to key staff Address issues on your website Leverage all available channels Drive the conversation Make sure your side of the story is heard Forge relationships with local reporters and editors
LAW SCHOOL ADMISSION COUNCIL NCTA 2012 TEST SECURITY AND THE MEDIA FAISEL ALAM
OUTLINE LSAT Headlines Media Relations 101 Nontraditional Media Media Relations 102 Working with Your Lawyer
LSAT HEADLINES Case 1: 1997 – 2000 LSAT Robbery Prompts Arrests Law Exam Scam? Three Suspects Charged Danny Khatchaturian and Dikran Iskendarian wanted to be lawyers. Now they need one… Two Sentenced in Elaborate Scheme to Cheat Law Test The students pay someone to steal the exam, then get the questions answered and transmitted via pager to them in Hawaii.
LSAT HEADLINES Case 2: 2007 LSAT Theft Foiled by Undercover Sting Man Pleads Guilty over LSAT Employees Were Offered Money for Copy of Law Exam Would-be Attorney Sentenced for Trying to Steal Law Test Hi, I know this is unusual, but please do not be alarmed by this letter. The purpose of this letter is merely to request your help in a matter that I would like to discuss with you personally.
MEDIA RELATIONS 101 Designate a spokesperson and a response team Train staff, trustees, and volunteers in how to refer inquiries Gather facts, and stick to them Determine how much you can say about security protocols and the specific matter at hand Try to stay within your limits Develop a narrative that tells your story Keep law enforcement on your side Let them take the lead, so long as thats working for you Coordinate, as much as possible, when its not
MEDIA RELATIONS 101 Reply to all inquiries as quickly as possible Practice saying I dont know, but Ill get back to you (Its better than making stuff up) Coordinate messaging and protocol with third parties: contractors, investigators, test-center personnel, score users, etc. Manage expectations
NONTRADITIONAL MEDIA Blogs, bulletin boards, chat rooms, file-sharing sites, and social media No professional code of ethics No editors No fact checkers No obligation to get your side of the story Can keep a story alive well after traditional media has lost interest, even well after it actually has died May be more influential with your key audiences than traditional media
MEDIA RELATIONS 102 Determine who your key audiences are Think broadly: score users, test takers, families, customers for your other programs, current and potential partners, future cheaters, government bodies For-profits: owners, shareholders, parent corporations Non-profits: governing board, members Identify the best ways to reach them Are there audiences that you can ignore? Whats the best way to interact with nontraditional media? Traditional media doesnt care when you win, but the nontraditional media might (just be careful of their spin!)
WORKING WITH YOUR LAWYER Involve counsel early Review written policies and make sure theyre being followed Determine whether counsel should be the primary contact with law enforcement Work with counsel on insurance matters Understand your test-taker privacy commitments and consult with counsel before breaching them Distinguish legal advice from policy advice Remember that legal advice is one input among many
Thank you! Faisel Alam Law School Admission Council 215.504.3805 falam@LSAC.org
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