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Public Information at the Scene “Feeding the beast without being eaten in the process.” 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Information at the Scene “Feeding the beast without being eaten in the process.” 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Information at the Scene “Feeding the beast without being eaten in the process.” 1

2 Which are you? The designated PIO for your agency? The EM person or first reponder who is thrown in front of the TV camera? Both? 2

3 Planning Before an Incident Crisis communication plan – part 1 – Who does what List by title – Duties and Responsibilities Broad terms (not too specific) – Contact lists Your agency and the media – Phone, cell phone, (day, night, weekends and holidays) 3

4 Planning Before an Incident Crisis communication plan – part 2 – Backup spokesperson – Training – Communications links Web sites, addresses – Social Media policy Everyone is subject to the policy 4

5 Planning Before an Incident Crisis communication plan – part 3 – Agency media policy Open – closed – somewhere in between Message drafting – who does it & who approves it How to refer queries to appropriate source – Training in how to pass it along 5

6 Difference between reporter and John/Jane Q. Citizen 6

7 Media as Professionals Professional standards and ethics Education & experience Different types – Full time or part time – Stringers – Free lance 7

8 Opportunity or Obstacle? Media interviews are opportunities to communicate life saving and/or preparedness information to people who need to know. 8

9 Crafting Your Message Contain 3 elements What has happened. What you are doing about it. What it means to the public – what they should do. 9

10 Ease Public Concern Describe what has taken place in clear easy to understand terms. – State what you know – Avoid descriptions that could cause panic – Be reassuring 10

11 Your Plan of Action Tell what you are doing Preplanned response / action Resources committed Resources requested Expected outcome of your action 11

12 The Public’s Plan of Action Tell what do you want the public to do. Be specific Be reasonable Be reassuring – Avoid creating false hopes or expectations 12

13 Staying on Message “I want to begin by first saying…” “As I said a moment ago…” “That is an important question, but before I answer I want to stress…” “Before I close I want to remind…” 13

14 Where Does the News Come From? What challenges does this pose for you, the emergency manager or first responder? Today, anyone with a cell phone can be a field reporter! 14

15 What ALL News Media Need – Prompt answers to queries – Access to the scene – Access to policymakers, responders, and victims – Fair treatment – Respect for deadlines – Updates and corrections to information in evolving incidents as fast as possible The media need YOU to be available and responsive at all times! 15

16 Identifying News Media in Your Area – Existing media lists (yours and other PIOs’) – State or local press associations – The Internet General topic searches Media’s own Web sites – Don’t forget the low-tech approach (telephone book Yellow Pages). 16

17 Media at the Scene All media can now tell the story from where it is happening. What can you do to make it work for you? 17

18 Initial PIO Actions – Assess the situation. – Consider your resources. – Establish contact with other involved agencies’ PIOs. – Keep leadership apprised. Individual Activity:  You are going to be on your own in the field for 12 hours.  Make a list of what you need. 18

19 Media Access – Establish a media staging/briefing area that doesn’t hinder operations, but affords the media reasonable, legitimate access. – Coordinate access to newsmakers and persons in charge. – Consider a media pool. 19

20 Media Needs at the Scene Access to: – You – The scene – Newsmakers Basics: – Explanation of the big picture – Respect for deadlines – Updates as quickly as possible in evolving situations 20

21 Media Needs at the Scene (Continued) Logistics: – Where they can set up – Location of nearest telephones, food, lodging, gas stations 21

22 PIO Needs at the Scene – Access to workers, leadership, legal staff – Involvement in all management briefings – Trust of coworkers and management How do you gain the trust of coworkers and management? How can you lose it? 22

23 Media Staging Areas Ask yourself: – Does it infringe at the scene (crime scene)? – Does media presence interfere with work being done? – Are they in danger? Will they endanger others? – Is it convenient for you and policymakers? 23

24 Media Staging Areas (Continued) Ask yourself: – Are they too close to sensitive information? – Do they have a clear line of sight to satellite or microwave towers? – Can they get the images they want? – Are there “convenience” facilities available? – How can you keep them at the staging area? 24

25 25 Police & fire in turn lane. A good MAPS location. Media Access Photo Site (MAPS)

26 Media Pools – A media pool is one representative from each type of media (TV, radio, print, Internet). – Media pools allow you to provide access under a more controlled system, when necessary. Don’t overuse the media pool. 26

27 Preparing for an Interview – Identify the best spokesperson. – Develop your objectives. – Consider your audience. – Develop your message and materials. – Get clearance/approval. – Practice or prep the spokesperson. 27

28 Improving Your Responses DON’T: – Speculate or answer hypothetical questions. – Respond for or talk about other agencies. – Comment on what others have said. – Lose your temper. – Lie. – Say anything you don’t want to read in print, hear on the radio, or see on TV or the Internet. – Say anything “off the record.” 28

29 Improving Your Responses (Continued) DO: – Know what you want to say. – Stick to your message. – Be positive, yet realistic. – Show compassion and empathy. – Know when to stop. – Summarize. 29

30 “No Comment” Never say “No comment.” It implies you are: – Hiding something, – Unprepared, or – Uninformed. No Comment! 30

31 Alternatives to “No Comment” 1.“The matter is under investigation and that information is not available at this time.” 2.“We will provide updates as more information becomes available.” 3.“Let me put you in contact with someone who is better able to answer that question.” 4.“Those details are covered by the Privacy Act and I cannot discuss them, but I can give you this general information...” 31

32 Transitional Phrases or “Bridging” – “What is most important is...” – “What we should focus on is...” – “What the public should know is...” – “The point (or goal) is...” These are ways to get back to your message 32

33 Nonverbal Communication Tips Pay attention to: – Eye contact. – Voice. – Expression. – Body position. – Gestures. – Movement. – Attire. NO! 33

34 Dealing With Nervousness – Prepare. – Anticipate questions. – Do something to relax yourself. – Use your nervousness as positive energy. – Realize the reporter wants you to succeed. – Know it is okay to pause to gather your thoughts. 34

35 Why Coordination at the Scene Matters – The bigger the event, the more media will arrive. – All media can now tell the story from where it is happening. – Local outlets can easily link with national and international counterparts; stories can go global within seconds. 35

36 Initial Actions That Can Make It Work – Get there quickly! – Have a “go-kit.” – Be educated. – Make contact with the on-scene commander. – Take control of the situation. – Keep your cool. – Make contact with your supervisor. 36

37 State and Federal Laws State sunshine laws Federal laws – Federal highways – Temporary flight restrictions Know the law ahead of time! 37

38 The EM/FR-Media Partnership What the PIO wants: – A conduit to the public – Respect for incident perimeter (no interference with response operations) – Accurate and fair reporting What the media want: – Access – Prompt answers to queries – Fair treatment – Respect for deadlines – Timely updates and corrections to information in evolving incidents 38

39 News Conferences and Briefings What is the difference between a news conference and a news briefing? In what situation would you want to hold a news conference or briefing? 39

40 News Briefing Responsibilities – The PIO organizes and manages the briefing. – The Incident Commander or official from the lead agency serves as the primary spokesperson. 40

41 Location, Location, Location Key considerations for location are: – Minimizing distractions. – Providing unobstructed access for satellite or “live” trucks. – Controlling environment (weather, backdrop). – Providing access and egress for speakers. – Minimizing background noise. – Providing optimal camera line of sight. – Managing security. 41

42 News Briefing Cycle Preparing – Determine location and time. – Announce. – Prepare participants. Opening – Greet media. – Provide introductions and overview. – Manage Q&A. 42

43 News Briefing Cycle (Continued) Closing – Summarize; reiterate key messages. – Announce time of next briefing. – Allow speakers to leave. Following Up – Document what was said and questions. – Monitor media coverage; address errors. – Debrief participants; use “lessons learned.” 43

44 Social Media 44

45 Rules of the Road 1.Do not lie to a reporter or lead a reporter into incorrect conclusions. 2.Never embarrass a reporter. 3.Do not argue with a reporter. 4.Never take it personally. 5.Correct inaccuracies. 6.Remember to thank them. 45

46 Thomas R. (Tom) Hegele, CPDM Media Relations and Crisis Communications 1205 Wicklow Drive Cary, NC


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