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C R I S I S C O M M U N I C A T I O N S P L A N C R I S I S C O M M U N I C A T I O N S P L A N Document Transcript

  • Table of Contents Page Purpose …………………………………………………………………………….. 01 Background ………………………………………………………………………… 01 Concept of Operations ……………………………………………………………… 01 Resources …………………………………………………………………………… 02 Coordination and Release of Public Information …………………………………… 03 Misinformation & Rumor Control ………………………………………………….. 03 Attachments Organizational Chart ………………………………………………………… 04 Important Contacts and Information Sources…………………………..……. 05 Sample News Release …………………………………………………….….. 06 Sample E-mail Update ………………………………………………………… 07 Crisis Management Tips ………………………………………………………. 08 News Conference Check List ………………………………………………… 12 Interview Check List ……………………………………………………….… 13 Preparing for an Interview by Paul Lapsley ……………………………….… 14
  • I. Purpose The purpose of the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Crisis Communication Plan is to provide for the accurately, timely, coordinated, appropriate and understandable release of tourism related information to the general public in times of potential and actual crisis and emergency incidents in and/or near Wyoming impacting or having potential to impact the travel and tourism industry. Individual businesses and enterprises need to make their own decisions as to when and how to contact their clients or customers whose reservations or tourism related activities may be impacted or possibly cancelled. At all times, the safety and protection of the public from harm is paramount. An effective communication plan requires cooperation and advance planning by potential partners and agencies. Major emphasis in this plan is placed on interagency cooperation and coordination both in the planning process and surrounding actual or potential crisis or emergency situations. II. Background During August/September 2000, a series of fires in Wyoming and surrounding states created considerable concern among tourists as to whether it was safe to visit Wyoming. While the greatest acreage consumed by these fires was outside the boundaries of the State of Wyoming, media coverage of theses fires caused many individuals to questions whether it was still safe to travel to Wyoming. Many tourists considered canceling or changing their plans to visit the region. Specific concerns of tourists mentioned were air quality, road closures/detours, facility restrictions and closures, and others. Our initial Crisis Communications Plan was published in April 2002 and included attachments and information from Wyoming Office of Emergency Management. This document contains updated contact information and processes that reflect the change in how people receive information, which is primarily via email and the internet. Media contacts will be maintained online through Vocus, a public relations management software program that ensures accurate and up to date contact information. Previously, media contacts were provided in attachments within this report and became outdated within a short period time of being printed. III. Concept of Operation The Wyoming Travel & Tourism Division maintains an active day-to-day, two-way communications program utilizing mediums of communications program such as internet, radio, television, newspapers, visitor information centers, chambers of commerce, CVBs, etc. to communicate information about Wyoming’s tourism industry to the public. In 2007, Wyoming Travel & Tourism purchased a lease agreement with Vocus, an online public relations management program that provides the most current media database world-wide, email campaigns, PRWeb press release distribution, news on demand monitoring service, advanced analytics, and RSS feeds. Page 1
  • Concept of Operation (cont.) The Wyoming Travel & Tourism Crisis Communication Plan will be implemented whenever a potential or actual natural or man-made crisis occurs which affects or threatens to affect tourists and/or the tourism industry in the State of Wyoming. Upon activation of the crisis communication plan the director will notify selected media and communications personnel to assemble. The plan concept is for Wyoming Travel &Tourism to be an information coordination center and clearing house so that all segments of the tourism industry within Wyoming will be speaking with one voice – and delivering one consistent message. Chambers of commerce, CVBs, etc. are encouraged to contact Wyoming Travel & Tourism for current information or with visitor questions and concerns. Wyoming Travel & Tourism will research and respond to queries and disseminate information to local, statewide or national media (newspapers, TV, radio, internet) to get information to tourists and travelers within Wyoming, visitors traveling to Wyoming, or to persons planning trips to Wyoming. At all times, the safety and protection of the public is paramount. IV. Resources a. Personnel The Wyoming Division of Travel & Tourism will primarily utilize its media and communications personnel in support of this plan. The contacts are listed on page five and should be contacted in the order in which they are listed. Additional coverage will be provided by our full time customer service representatives. As necessary and determined by the Director of Wyoming Travel & Tourism, departmental personnel may be sent to the location of the crisis or emergency to assist local tourism agencies in dealing with media, gathering timely information, taking digital photos for posting on the Wyoming Travel & Tourism website, www.wyomingtourism.org or reasons as determined by the director. Wyoming Travel & Tourism will utilize existing web cams to the greatest extent possible to provide individual situation and condition assessment and decision making to potential visitors. If existing webcams do not provide adequate coverage, Wyoming Travel & Tourism may contract for mobile web cam services. If the state of Wyoming Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated a representative from Wyoming Travel & Tourism will be assigned as necessary. Other Wyoming Travel & Tourism personnel will operate from their normal offices or alternate emergency locations on normal or extended hour coverage as determined by the director of Wyoming Travel & Tourism b. Equipment and Facilities Equipment available within the Wyoming Travel & Tourism for collection, coordination, compilation and dissemination of information include: i. Desktop and laptop computers with internet connectivity and e-mail ii. Fax machines and copiers iii. Digital cameras and video cameras iv. Flatbed and slide scanners v. Land lines and cell phones vi. State vehicles vii. Conference room Page 2
  • V. Coordination of Release of Public Information It is essential that any information released to the public or forwarded to other agencies or parties by the crisis team be verified for accuracy with coordinating agencies to the fullest extent possible in a timely manner. Wyoming Travel & Tourism will act as the crisis team release agent as appropriate for disseminating coordinated information to Wyoming, regional, national and international media (radio, TV, internet, print and others) and other agencies including CVBs, chambers, lodging tax boards, Wyoming Restaurant and Lodging Association, Travel Industry Coalition, Wyoming Homestay and Outdoor Association, State Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Dude Ranch Association and others surrounding the State of Wyoming. The primary method for releasing information to the media will be email distribution and under the heading Breaking News on Wyoming Travel & Tourism’s home page, www.wyomingtourism.org which has RSS feed capability. Coordination agencies will be those in the immediate area affected by the emergency and those agencies involved in crisis response activities. In the example of a wildfire, these agencies would likely include, but are not limited to agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Wyoming Emergency Management Agency. Other agencies to be contacted or coordinated as appropriate prior to release and as time permits would include, but not limited to, the Wyoming Governor’s Offices, Rocky Mountain International, Fieldstar International, and similar agencies as previously listed. VI. Misinformation and Rumor Control Effective misinformation and rumor control is a proven method of preventing misunderstandings or miscommunication from spreading and growing into larger events or crisis’ in themselves. In order to prevent such occurrences and to keep a pulse on what is happening across the state, and to serve as a course of answers and information about tourism and tourism related events, the Wyoming Travel & Tourism office will monitor news clippings through Vocus and take appropriate action to ensure accurate coverage. If a traveler has a concern or question about tourism-related activities in Wyoming, they should call the Wyoming Travel & Tourism customer service personnel at 1-800-225-5996 or 307-777- 7777. If the customer service representatives are unable to answer the query they will refer it the appropriate person. Customer service representatives will log caller trends or concerns. Individuals or businesses should contact Chuck Coon, 307-777-2831 (cell: 307-630-4004), chuck.coon@visitwyo.gov or Lori Hogan, 307-777-2889 (cell: 307-631-3948), lori.hogan@visitwyo.gov to report tourism related crisis in Wyoming. An attachment with all additional contacts may be found on page five. Page 3
  • Important Contacts and Information Sources Email Direct Line Cell Phone Wyoming Travel & Tourism Contacts Chuck Coon, Media Manager chuck.coon@visitwyo.gov 307-777-2831 307-630-4004 Lori Hogan, Sr. Communications Specialist lori.hogan@visitwyo.gov 307-777-2889 307-631-3948 Diane Shober, Director diane.shober@visitwyo.gov 307-777-2808 307-214-3741 Governor Freudenthal Cara Eastwood, Press Secretary ceastw@state.wy.us 307-777-7437 Colorado Director, Kim McNulty kim.mcnulty@state.co.us 303-892-3848 Idaho Carl Wilgus, Director cwilgus@idoc.state.id.us 208-334-2470 Ron Gardner, Communication Manager rgardner@idoc.state.id.us 208-334-2470 Nebraska Christian Hornbaker, Director chornbaker@visitnebraska.org 877-632-7275 Sarah Baker, Media Relations sarah.baker@ded.ne.gov 402-471-3797 Montana Division of Tourism Betsy Baumgart, Director bbaumgart@state.mt.us 406-444-2654 Donnie Sexton, Communications Manager dsexton@mt.gov 406-444-1356 South Dakota Billie Jo Waara, Director sdinfo@state.sd.us 605-773-3301 Wanda Goodman, Media Manager mediasd@state.sd.us 800-952-3625 Utah Leigh von der Esch, Director lvondere@utah.gov 801-538-1370 Clayton Scrivner, Media Relations cscrivner@utah.gov 801-538-1759 QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE http://www.wyomingbusiness.org/pdf/tourism/QRG_2006.pdf A list of Wyoming Chambers of Commerce and Lodging Tax Boards; Elected Officials; Information Officers (state government, United States Government, National Park Service, Private/Public Entities); Major Tourism Attractions (National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas, Forests and BLM); Radio Stations (commercial and non-commercial); TV Stations (commercial and non-commercial); Newspapers; Zip Codes; State Parks, Historic Sites and Tourism-Related Organizations. Tourism Websites Wyoming Tourism www.wyomingtourism.org Montana Tourism www.visitmt.com Nebraska Tourism www.visitnebraska.org Idaho Tourism www.visitidaho.org Utah Tourism www.travel.utah.gov South Dakota tourism www.travelsd.com Wildfire Websites National Interagency Fire Center www.nifc.gov Incident Information System (InciWeb) www.inciweb.org Teton Fire Information www.tetonfires.com USDA Forest Service Fire Management www.fs.fed.us/fire Government Agency Websites USDA Forest Service www.fs.fed.us National Park Service www.nps.gov Yellowstone National Park www.nps.gov/yell Grand Teton Nation Park www.nps.gov/grte Bureau of Land Management www.wy.blm.gov Page 5
  • Sample News Release Company Logo Company Name, Address FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (dd/mm/yyyy) Time (if critical to release) Media Contacts: Primary contact, email address, phone number Secondary contact, email address, phone number TITLE OF RELEASE (Location of release) - - At approximately ___(time) today, (XYZ) officials announced the closure of highway ______(XYZ) as well as closure of back country camping and evacuation of ______(XYZ) facilities or ____(XYZ campground) due to increased ________(fire danger, fire-fighting activities, grizzly attack, etc). At this time officials do not know how long the closure will be in effect. The safety of citizens, tourists and staff remain a top priority. Affected persons should stay tuned to local radio station____(XYZ) for further information. They may also call _____(phone) or visit ______(website) for updated information. All visitor services, hotels and businesses remain open. Visitors with reservations at the campground in the effected area are advised to contact the business directly to determine alternative lodging options. Our next news release will be sent no later than ______ (this time plus three hours) or when additional information becomes available. -End- Page 6
  • Sample Email Update Wyoming Wildfire Update Wednesday, July 25, 2007 (10:15 AM) There are a couple of fires burning in Wyoming; however they are not impacting major travel plans at this time. The Owl Fire is in the northwest corner of Yellowstone in an area east of US Highway 191, north of the Montana/Wyoming state line, and south of Specimen Creek. It is approximately 1200 acres. Cooler weather is expected to aid efforts today. This fire is not a threat to people or property. However, it has the potential to develop a smoke column visible from some park roads and highways. It may also cause a light haze over areas in and near the park, or cause smoke to settle at times in low lying areas. Beaver Dam Fire is burning in the back county near the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake and is approximately 540 acres. There are no closures in the area of the Beaver Dam Fire. All Yellowstone visitor services, park entrances, and roads are open. Some trails and backcountry campsites in the area near the Owl Fire are temporarily closed. Hikers, anglers, backpackers, and stock users planning to go into the northwest corner of the park are encouraged to call the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 for more information. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction for the airspace over the Owl Fire. Details are available by contacting a Flight Service Station or online at http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_7_9450.html. You may also find information at: www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm or http://www.inciweb.org/incident/855/ Granite Creek Fire is burning 22 miles northeast of Hoback Junction or approximately 18 miles southeast of Jackson. It is estimated at 1,000 acres. Forest officials have closed the Granite Creek Road (Forest Service road 30500) starting just beyond the fork for the Safari Club and continuing north to Granite Hot Springs. Granite Creek campground was evacuated early on July 20. Currently, recreationists may still utilize the Swift Creek trail provided they do not try to come out on the Granite Creek side. For additional information: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/852/ FIRE RESTRICTIONS Due to dry conditions and high fire danger, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Newcastle Field Office is implementing partial fire restrictions in Crook, Niobrara, and Weston counties beginning July 24, 2007. For more information: www.wy.blm.gov/wy_fire_restrictions. Federal Agency Fire Restrictions: http://www.wy.blm.gov/wy_fire_restrictions/ State & County Fire Restrictions: http://www.wy.blm.gov/wy_fire_restrictions/state_county.htm Updates on fire activity will only be sent if significant changes occur or a new fire is reported. You may continue to monitor wildfires at www.inciweb.org or www.nifc.gov Page 7
  • Crisis Management Tips Six Simple Steps to Crisis Management Regardless of the advertising you’ve done or how well you’ve built your trust with your consumers and publics, you can’t prevent most crises. In addition, not all crises are “overnight headlines.” Long-term crisis planning may take the edge off potential crises, but you will have to face, manage and survive them. Every organization or business can face a different crisis. There is no single ‘right” way to deal with a crisis. But one fact is for certain, the better prepared you are to deal with a crisis, the better your chances of surviving it with minimal damage. There are six simple steps to preparing for a crisis 1. Be prepared. Have a plan of action. Regardless of the crisis, there should be an overall crisis communications plan that can be put into place quickly. 2. Build a crisis management team. A team of trained experts representing various local, state and federal agencies should be created that is aware that they could be called on at any time for assistance. These people should have the authority to make decisions and should know how to solve a given problem. This team should also prepare a crisis response plan. A list of agencies or organizations that should be notified in the event of a crisis should be created. This list should include, in priority order, the names of who should be contacted and their telephone numbers as well as their email addresses. Various “public” have a right to know what is going on. 3. Respond quickly but not hastily. Don’t be afraid to release the bad news yourself. It is better if the bad news comes from you than from another organization that may or may not have your best interests in mind. Once a crisis occurs, the crisis communications plan should be activated quickly. Several people should be aware of this plan so that it doesn’t rely solely on one person who may not be available. Don’t waste time trying to find someone to blame for the situation. Don’t stall reporters and don’t speculate or try to cover up the problem. 4. Work cooperatively with the media. Remember, the media can tell your story, but you need to be willing to cooperate with them and to give them information they request in a timely fashion. Get the story over with and behind you. The quickest way to end coverage of a negative story is to disclose accurate information in a timely fashion. If information is not available or will be held up for some reason, say so! The more you try and avoid the media or provide only vague information to them, the more the media will “hound: you and destroy your public image. Page 8
  • Crisis Management Tips Six Simple Steps to Crisis Management (Cont.) Establish a central location from where all of the information concerning the crisis is provided. This provides a “headquarter” location for your crisis management team, but it also provides a place for media to receive accurate information about the crisis. To keep media informed of the crisis, depending on it’s type, but especially if its deals with public safety, it is important to provide the media with regular updates, including regularly scheduled news conferences. During each of these news conferences the person chosen as the spokesperson should begin with a prepared statement, providing the most recent facts, addressing any issues that have developed, etc. Then the spokesperson should be prepared to accept questions from the media. 5. Don’t Panic. Panic only leads to more damage. Stay calm. Constantly assess the situation and deal with the issues as they arise. Use and rely on your crisis management team for input and advice. 6. Take out image insurance. Build a solid public image ahead of time. That way, when and if something does happen, you have a solid, well-known, well-trusted image upon which to rely. Tips for the Crisis or Negative Story Interview Although the steps listed above are key to the development and implantation of a crisis management and communication plan, there are also some specific tips for talking with the media that you should remember. Know what the main message about the issue is and incorporate it into EVERY RESPONSE. Keep your responses to questions as simple as you can. Obtuse answers are more likely to cause confusions and misinterpretation in a crisis than at any other time. Do not feel obligated to accept facts or figures cited by reporter. Challenge facts or assumptions you know are inaccurate and offer to check on ones with which you are unfamiliar. If you cannot answer a question because of personnel, legal, confidentiality or other considerations, say so. NEVER say “no comment.” Stay calm. If you get defensive or emotional and lose control, that WILL be the story. Page 9
  • Crisis Management Tips Tips for the Crisis or Negative Story Interview (Cont.) Any contact with media provides you with an opportunity to get your story out, so take advantage of the situation. A crisis well handled can strengthen your credibility with the media and the public and position you as a resource for future stories. Do not play favorites with the media. Be sure to make the same information available to all media representatives at the same time. Remember you will be dealing with these same news organizations long after this situation is over. Potential Issues and Responses Be prepared for the following questions during a news conference and have this information available: How did the disaster start? Have updated details of the situation on hand List details of any investigation that may be in progress How close can the media get to the affected area to take photos or shoot video? Amount of damage to federal and state lands, private dwellings and community buildings Amount of money spent Amount and type of equipment and supplies used Provide ideas for feature stories on individuals struggling to cope with their loss of property, memories, animals, family members, etc. Number of emergency crews and where they are from Number of acres affected Number of people displaced from their homes How could this have been prevented? Roads opened or closed and access to tourism destinations History/comparison of similar disasters in the area or nation-wide Focus your response on YOUR message “Most roads and tourism destinations remain open and are eager to serve you when you arrive.” “We have three special events this weekend in other areas of the state. Please use this route.” “Tourist numbers have remained constant in the last few weeks. There are still many things to see and do in this region of the state.” “The forest fire only affects a small area of the state and only three tourism attractions. The following attractions are still open and are offering discount prices to visitors who stop by their attraction this weekend.” “The temporary closure should not affect major travel plans and will be reopened as soon as it is safe.” “Although several small fires are burning, none of them pose a threat to visitors. All park entrances and roads are open to the public. All camping, lodging, restaurants, stores, service stations, and visitor centers inside the park are open.” Page 10
  • Crisis Management Tips Natural disasters (air quality, drought, tornado, avalanche, fire, etc.) Primary issues: Ongoing publicity prior to the natural disaster (i.e. reports of increasingly poor air quality and the cause, reports of lack or rain or potential avalanche) informing the public of the current conditions Creation of central headquarters for information collection and distribution Identification of key spokesperson(s) Ongoing communication with appropriate agencies, individuals and businesses involved in helping injured persons, providing supplies or equipment, etc. Likelihood or continued threat of more damage/disaster Accurate information Regular media briefings Focus on public safety Number of people displaced due to the disaster Be prepared for the following questions during a news conference and have this information available: Number of people hurt or killed due to the disaster History of the situation/facts leading up to the disaster Amount of damage to federal and state lands, private dwellings and community buildings Amount and type of equipment and supplies used to assist people with gathering what remains of their lives and beginning the rebuilding process Provide ideas for feature stories on individuals struggling to cope with their loss of property, memories, animals, family members, etc. Number of emergency crews and where they are from Number of acres affected Number of people displaced from their homes How could this have been prevented? Roads opened or closed and access to tourism destinations Focus your response on YOUR message “People in Wyoming are always willing to go out of their way to help others in need. We really see this at times like these when people have nothing left. People reach out with compassion, sensitivity and generosity.” “Emergency teams train and prepare for type of event although they seldom occur.” “Visitors to the area are welcome to enjoy the great skiing due to recent snowfall, but they need to be aware of the avalanche conditions and take precautions.” “Visitors are being asked to avoid the wildfire area but are encouraged to visit other part of the park.” “We would like to remind visitors to follow all fire regulations, extinguish fires completely and be safe.” SOURCES Marketing Corporate Image by James R Gregory and Jack Wiechmann On Deadline: Managing Media Relations by Carole Howard and Wilma Mathews Power Packed PR; Ideas that Work from the editors of communication briefings, by Communication Publications and Resources Page 11
  • News Conference Checklist Serious consideration should be given to who needs to be present at the news conference. Think about questions that might be asked and who should answer them! Brief everyone even remotely involved on the subject matter ahead of time. The media can be notified of the news conference in a variety of ways – news release, phone call, fax, email, PR Wire, AP and UPI day wires. In an emergency related news conference the media will probably be waiting at your door—ready for the information. The Scheduling is an in important variable for news conferences. Know media deadlines in your community. Keeping a list of deadlines is necessary. With the advent of new technology and the disappearance of most afternoon newspapers new conferences can easily be scheduled for as late as 2:00 p.m. Most media types do not like to attend weekend news conferences—if the news conference is related to preparedness or awareness - check for other local events scheduled that week. Even impromptu news conferences won’t be covered unless it’s sensational—don’t plan news conferences within the time of deadlines. Remember than evening reports need to happen in time for the 10 O’clock news. The location of the news conference is critical—space consideration must be addresses in your planning efforts. The space provided for the news conference should not be too large and easily accessible to the media. Room set-up considerations should address the following: Rows of chairs, auditorium style—reporters need to be able to hear speakers and ask questions. Wide aisles should be established between chairs. Raised stage area in the back of the room is important—cameramen will then be able to get their shots. If not possible, the back of the room should be wide open for cameramen use. Include a lectern in set-up—most presenters feel more comfortable standing behind one. Whenever possible provide the media and other guests attending the news conference with handouts (media kit). All background information, organizational charts, bio’s paper and pencils, and a news release. Whenever possible include various materials as part of the presentation. Maps and charts depicting the disaster scene or evacuation routes are extremely useful to the presenter and are helpful to the viewing audience. Set them high enough so they can be seen, photographed, etc. If you have conducted news conferences before, you should have an idea of what equipment is needed by the media. If not or if you are at a different location than usual ask the media what they may need. Check the room lighting before the conference. Provide water and glasses for presenters. If possible prepare an agenda and have a dress rehearsal for the presenters. If possible provide a holding room for the presenters in the news conference—keep them away from media until you are ready to start the presentation. Hold the news conference to 30 minutes-no longer than an hour. Allow plenty of time for media questions. Page 12
  • Interview Checklist Be prepared. Know what you’re talking about! It is important that you, or the person you plan to have speak to the news media, know the subject matter involved thoroughly! If you don’t know the answer to the question asked—say so! Never say “no comment.” Avoid using jargon or acronyms. Live interviews are becoming more common on television—be aware that your answers are being transmitted via TV to the audience! First impressions are important—a clear, concise opening statement which covers basic facts is essential! Stay calm - - don’t lose your composure if the reporter is “rough” on you. Think through the question being asked. You can often turn a negative related question into a positive situation with a careful answer. Don’t rush your answers – “Buy” some time on a question by giving some background information on the issue before you directly answer the question! Remember that even the interview is being taped; your remarks could be edited in such a fashion to cause problems – think through each answer! Questions of policy should be answered by policy makers. Let the policy makers field these comments. The who, what, where, when, why, and how will always be part of the interview – know your answers! Watch your body language - - hand movements, involuntary smiles, squinting, etc. – they can be damaging on the air! Be sure your dress is appropriate if you have time to prepare. Uniformed personnel should be in uniform! Be careful of any remarks made in the vicinity of a camera or microphone! When you are on the air, look at the reporter, not the camera. Exceptions: when you have a strong point to make and when you are located away from the reporter (field site and TV interview). Page 13
  • Preparing for the Interview By Paul Lapsley Learn who your audience is and what issues they’re concerned about. When the journalist or reporter calls to schedule the interview there are several items you should discuss with them in setting up the interview. Ask how much they know about the issues. Take this opportunity to give them a brief background or if they don’t have time, offer to send written materials; if they don’t have time to discuss it, you’ll know that the only opportunity you’ll have to inform them and their audience will be during the interview. The information, by itself, is important. Learn from the reporter what issues their audience is concerned about. Often this will give you an insight into what issues you need to be prepared to deal with. If the reporter doesn’t give you any guidance, it’s an opportunity for you to suggest areas that you will cover in the interview. If the journalist has little knowledge on the topic they will welcome your outlining how the interview should go. Learn how much time you’ll have to explain the agency’s position. This will help you determine how to make your presentation. If the journalist tells you that you’re only going to have a ten second spot in the evening news - that will motivate you to get your message out clearly and succinctly. On the other hand, if the interview will be a dialogue that will come out in a Question and Answer session for the audience, then you’ll have the opportunity to provide more extensive explanation to a series of key issues, which you will be able to frame for the journalist. Decide what it is you wanted to convey and how much time you’ll have to do it. Think through the logical explanation of how the agency arrived at its current position and what actions it’s taking to deal with the situation, both now and in the future. Be prepared to answer the criticism that the agency should know the hazards earlier and take action more quickly. At the same time, be prepared to respond to critics that the agency is overreacting and the hazard doesn’t really exist. You must present a dispassionate and reasoned approach to dealing with hazard that has been established through credible information. Learn what others are saying about the risk so that you can defend the agency’s position. We will frequently be presented with statements that environmentalists are making or statements from the chemical industry, and asked to reconcile those statements with agency’s action. Be prepared to respond with a logical explanation of why the agency’s action is most appropriate in light of available information and why environmental or industry actions are inappropriate. Be familiar with various exposure routes that could lead to risk; and state what exposure (i.e. ground water, inhalation, fires) present risk of concern and just as importantly, those exposures which are not reason for concern. Know what assumptions have been used in the risk assessment. Be prepared to explain that the agency has used conservative assumptions in estimating risks and what they are. It’s important to comment that conservative assumptions are used as a prudent approach to protecting public health and the environment; however, we expect that actual risk would be less. Know what the economic impacts will be. Frequently the audience is more concerned about the impact on their economic situation then they are about the risk implications. You must be able to assure them that the agency has considered the economic implications, and believed its action is necessary in spite of those impacts. Prepare yourself to represent the agency regardless of your own position. Your audience will be assuming that you are the spokesperson for the agency. Consequently, regardless of your support for the agency’s position, defend it, without calling into question any aspect of the decision. Any concerns you may have should be discussed internally. Page 14