United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Handbook
OCHA Public Information
Approved by: [E...
HANDBOOK ON OCHA PUBLIC INFORMATION
CONTENTS PAGE
A. Purpose 3
B. Scope 3
C. Rationale 3
D. Handbook 4
1. Responsibilities...
A. PURPOSE
Public information (PI) that is timely, reliable and field-driven is a critical component of OCHA’s
overall adv...
D. HANDBOOK
1. Responsibilities of a PI Officer
A PI Officer needs to be an effective communicator in the fullest sense of...
OCHA PI Officer duties
Duty Purpose With whom For whom
Develop and implement PI and
advocacy strategy for OCHA Country
Off...
Duty Purpose With whom For whom
Promote media coverage of
humanitarian emergencies and
ERC/USG-HA and high-level visits,
s...
Duty Purpose With whom For whom
Respond to information requests from
media, UN agencies, NGOs, donors,
governments, etc., ...
to coach the RC/HC or OCHA Head of Office on media relations, as most journalists
prefer interviewing senior UN officials ...
2.4.2 Donors
Donors need current, reliable, field-driven information in order to make informed funding
decisions. In addit...
The UN official drafting style states that all UN documents should employ British English
spelling, with the exception of ...
Both OCHA field offices and headquarters issue press releases as a matter of course.
OCHA PI Officers shall always share t...
Result: Press releases are the most common means of disseminating information
to local and regional media as well as at he...
Result: Journalists appreciate and are more likely to cover fresh news, even if the
information is not 100 per cent comple...
When: Humanitarian principle violation: Statements are issued immediately
following or prior to the occurrence of a signif...
3.1.6 Statements attributable to the UNCT, IASC or ECHA
Statements attributed to the UNCT (or to multiple UN agencies) or ...
Content: Talking points should begin by describing the context of the meeting,
providing details about the media or audien...
specifications presented in the policy. The purpose of field office websites is based on,
but not limited to, the provisio...
the IRIN Managing Editor accordingly. In the event of a deteriorating security situation, PI
Officers are in the position ...
5.1.1 For all media:
• Establish the main point and say it in simple and effective language.
• Brainstorm in advance the w...
Developing an OCHA or UNCT media strategy
Developing an OCHA (or UNCT) media strategy is an essential part of PI and thus ...
Finding a news hook: Do not waste journalists' time with something that is not news.
Reflect on what kind of news hooks wi...
implement the plan. A successful media plan of action will maintain a focus on the
achievement of its overall objective by...
foreseen events (e.g. a presidential visit, immunization days, etc.) while maintaining their
focus and carefully targeting...
Be friendly: Know the names and affiliations of journalists and inform APIS about your
contacts with specific journalists....
they arrive (or, second best, as they leave). This should also be sent to journalists unable
to attend.
The location shoul...
often in collaboration with other UN agencies. Field visits for local journalists (often
coordinated with a government min...
5.4.4 Media interviews
An interview is a briefing for a single journalist and may produce an exclusive story.
Sometimes OC...
(the name and whether it is a town, district, etc.), as well as identifying the subjects (by
group or function, if names a...
• Group: Go back and group the material for a 20-minute presentation into a maximum
of three main topics, allowing five mi...
F. REFERENCES
Normative or superior references
UN, 2005, Spelling list, United Nations, New York.
Related guidance
OCHA, 2...
ANNEX A. KEY PI CONTACTS AT HEADQUARTERS
Advocacy and Public Information Section (APIS) – New York
Fax: (212) 963-1040, (2...
ANNEX B. TEMPLATES AND SAMPLES
Annex B1. Situation report
Draft template of a monthly situation report
32
United Nations Nations Unies
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION REPORT No. ...
5. Media
PLEASE PROVIDE ANY ISSUES THAT YOU FEEL SHOULD BE FOLLOWED UP
Interviews:
Press Statements:
6. INITIATIVES TAKEN
...
ANNEX B. TEMPLATES AND SAMPLES
Annex B2. Press release
Sample/template/tips for a press release
35
United Nations Nations Unies
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
FIGHTING IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE JEOPARDI...
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final

452

Published on

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final
Andrew Williams Jr
http://univermind.com
Email: aj@trn.tv
Mobile: +1-424-222-1997
Skype: andrew.williams.jr
http://twitter.com/AWilliamsJr
http://xeeme.com/AmbassadorAWJ
https://www.facebook.com/FAUBermuda
http://www.yatedo.com/andrewwilliamsjr
http://www.slideshare.net/andrewwilliamsjr
http://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewwilliamsjr
http://www.facebook.com/ajactionteam
http://www.facebook.com/ambassadorawj
http://www.facebook.com/andrewwilliamsjr
http://www.facebook.com/AJGombeyBermuda

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
452
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
4
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs OCHA Public information Handbook Final

  1. 1. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Handbook OCHA Public Information Approved by: [ERC/USG-HA] Approval date: [Date approved] Contact: APIS public information focal point Review date: [Date two years after approval date]
  2. 2. HANDBOOK ON OCHA PUBLIC INFORMATION CONTENTS PAGE A. Purpose 3 B. Scope 3 C. Rationale 3 D. Handbook 4 1. Responsibilities of a PI Officer 4 2. Knowledge for effective PI outreach 7 3. The OCHA PI toolbox 9 4. OCHA information platforms 16 5. OCHA engagement with the media 18 E. Terms and definitions 29 F. References 30 G. Monitoring and compliance 30 H. Dates 30 I. Contact 30 J. History 30 ANNEXES A. Key PI contacts at headquarters 31 B. Templates and samples 32 B1. Situation report 32 B2. Press release 35 B3. Input to press briefings 37 B4. News alert 38 B5. Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General 39 B6. Statement attributable to the IASC 40 B7. Talking points 42 B8. Media advisory 43 C. UN Secretariat relations with the media 45 D. UN Communications Group 47 D1. Basic operating model 47 D2. Sample terms of reference 50 E. Tips for difficult interviews or press conferences 52 F. Glossary of humanitarian terms 53 2
  3. 3. A. PURPOSE Public information (PI) that is timely, reliable and field-driven is a critical component of OCHA’s overall advocacy efforts. OCHA uses PI to create awareness among target audiences about humanitarian emergencies, including natural disasters and complex emergencies as well as their impact on civilians. OCHA PI Officers are charged with the task of bringing humanitarian priorities to the world’s attention, ultimately seeking to create an operating environment that averts, or alleviates, human suffering and promotes the well being and protection of individuals and communities affected by, or at risk of, conflict, natural or environmental disasters. The purpose of this Handbook is to serve as an introduction to OCHA PI, familiarising new PI Officers with their responsibilities and with the PI tools at their disposal. Containing a range of information and resources for OCHA PI, it is a key reference of which OCHA staff can make use for effective outreach. B. SCOPE This Handbook presents step-by-step guidance on PI and provides specific information on PI Officer roles and responsibilities. The Handbook also includes a comprehensive section on engaging with the media, comprising rules and practical tips for OCHA media relations. While the Handbook is primarily targeted at PI Officers, its content may be of equal use by OCHA staff both at headquarters and in the field. All OCHA staff is encouraged to make use of the information, templates and samples presented herein. Rules on media engagement should be noted by and are mandatory for all OCHA staff. C. RATIONALE The goal of every OCHA office is to support a well-coordinated UN effort to assess, meet and advocate on humanitarian needs in the field. PI plays a vital role in helping to achieve this objective. At a practical level, PI often involves drafting, compiling, packaging and disseminating information that can be used in the public domain, including but not exclusive to, the media. It requires consistent and effective communication and media relations, and is simultaneously proactive (advocating on an issue or need in the public domain), as well as responsive (to humanitarian concerns). PI activities based on accurate and timely information from the field (disaster conditions, internal displacement movements, outbreaks of violence against civilians, etc.) can be used to: • Alert the UN Security Council; • Harness the moral authority of the Secretary-General and the UN system; • Catalyse and promote humanitarian assistance to victims; • Promote compliance by governments/parties to a conflict with international humanitarian law; • Raise public awareness of humanitarian principles; and • Raise public awareness of civilian populations in danger. Prior to the development of this Handbook, no single document existed that provided an overview of PI activities and of the roles and responsibilities of an OCHA PI Officer. Developed by the Advocacy and Public Information Section (APIS) of OCHA’s Advocacy and Information Management Branch (AIMB), this Handbook aims to address this gap, offering a comprehensive document that presents the key elements and tools of PI. 3
  4. 4. D. HANDBOOK 1. Responsibilities of a PI Officer A PI Officer needs to be an effective communicator in the fullest sense of the term. They need to engage in broad and regular consultation with a wide range of groups, including OCHA and UN colleagues, members of the wider humanitarian community, local authorities and the media. Consultation with these groups serves as both a means of providing and receiving reliable information on humanitarian operations as well as offering a range of sources to which PI Officers can direct media enquiries when appropriate. Effectively obtaining and communicating current, reliable information from the field is the foundation of a PI Officer’s work. PI activities vary greatly in the field and demand an innovative and dynamic approach to the job. Balancing the many roles and responsibilities is a challenge under even the best of circumstances and PI Officers should regularly consult with their OCHA Head of Office to ensure that tasks are prioritised and realistic given the many competing demands. PI Officers are under pressure to deliver while facing three competing priorities: speed, accuracy and inclusiveness. Speed: Timeliness is critical for media and senior management information requests, and PI Officers should seek to respond to such enquiries as efficiently as possible (initial response time less than 24 hours). Accuracy: Information – no matter how timely – is of no use if it is inaccurate or unverifiable; sources should be checked and facts double-checked before used or being passed along. Inclusiveness: For in-depth reports, every effort should be made to ensure that UN agencies, donors and UN implementing partners have the opportunity to contribute to the contents. The following table presents an extensive yet non-exhaustive list of PI Officers’ duties, stakeholders and audiences. 4
  5. 5. OCHA PI Officer duties Duty Purpose With whom For whom Develop and implement PI and advocacy strategy for OCHA Country Office Ensure cohesion in objectives, messaging, roles and target audiences OCHA Head of Office, Country Office staff, APIS staff in New York and Geneva All Country Office staff Work with the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC), OCHA Head of Office and/or other agency head(s) to develop and help implement PI and advocacy work plan for the RC/HC and UN Country Team (UNCT), including PI and media relations support Ensure cohesion in objectives, messaging, roles and target audiences PI focal points for UN agencies working in- country, as well as for focal points from UN Information Centres (UNIC), UN peacekeeping missions RC/HC, UNCT Organise a UN (or wider humanitarian community) communications group, convening regular meetings to exchange information, review opportunities and needs for common PI/advocacy among UNCT members; develop joint strategies and common messages; identify target audiences and focal points for engaging with them (See Annex D for basic operating model and sample terms of reference for a UN Communications Group) Promote the in- country humanitarian situation; ensure transparent exchange of information; maximise impact of collective position/ messaging on humanitarian issues PI focal points for UN agencies working in- country, as well as for focal points from UN Information Centres (UNIC), UN peacekeeping missions and/or key NGO partners as relevant UNCT, broader humanitarian community Keep OCHA headquarters and other key UN actors informed on breaking issues and new developments in ongoing issues as they arise, providing updated information and inputs as required Key UN actors include: OCHA New York and Geneva, OCHA Regional Support Offices (RSO), UN Security Council, RC/HC, Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) members at the country level and high-level visitors Ensure information and messages are field-driven and timely OCHA Coordination and Response Division (CRD), APIS, Policy Development and Studies Branch (PDSB) UN Security Council, Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC)/Under- Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs (USG- HA) Advise OCHA headquarters on necessary interventions from senior UN officials including ERC/USG-HA (via quotes, statements, visits, etc.) to raise profile of crisis and/or take the lead on advocacy Ensure effective advocacy conducted at the highest levels CRD, APIS in New York and Geneva ERC/USG-HA, AIMB in New York and Geneva 5
  6. 6. Duty Purpose With whom For whom Promote media coverage of humanitarian emergencies and ERC/USG-HA and high-level visits, statements and activities. - press conferences, interviews, background briefings - proactive media outreach to pitch stories, shape story angle and provide information - provide rapid response to information requests from media - use Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) when appropriate, cooperating, if necessary, as an unnamed source Raise awareness and profile of humanitarian emergencies to support further direct assistance and funding APIS staff in New York and Geneva (and through them, ERC/USG- HA), UNICs, IRIN, RSOs International and local media outlets Write, produce and/or oversee production and distribution of print and audiovisual communication products (press releases, press kits, speeches, feature articles, brochures, backgrounders, posters, radio public service announcements, audio programmes, TV spots and programming) - Propose topics, undertake research, determine target audience - Create production plan, obtain clearances, edit copy and finalise, coordinate design and printing, organise distribution Ensure efficient, effective messaging that advances advocacy objectives OCHA Head of Office, APIS staff in New York and Geneva International and local media outlets, UNCT, local humanitarian community and beneficiaries Prepare talking points and guidance on humanitarian crises for use by UNCT, senior UN officials in New York and Geneva Generate high- quality messaging based on timely, relevant field data and respects local security concerns APIS staff in Geneva and New York UNCT, senior UN officials Make recommendations to OCHA Head of Office of how to coordinate information flows between all relevant players and media outreach, including interviews, press conferences and background briefings Increase effectiveness of PI and advocacy outreach APIS staff in New York and Geneva OCHA Head of Office Provide timely information (sitreps, updates, etc.) to APIS in New York and Geneva Ensure advocacy and PI is field driven, accurate and timely OCHA Head of Office, Country Office staff APIS in New York and Geneva, OCHA Online, Relief Web 6
  7. 7. Duty Purpose With whom For whom Respond to information requests from media, UN agencies, NGOs, donors, governments, etc., directing enquiries to UN colleagues and other partners and recognising/crediting others when appropriate Provide effective information service and ensure efficient information flow emanating from the field OCHA Head of Office, APIS in New York and Geneva International and local media outlets, UN agencies, relevant humanitarian actors Respect and work with national and regional, as well as international, media, maintaining up-to-date media lists and monitoring media coverage of humanitarian issues in-country and region Enable effective media outreach; maintain good working relationships with journalists UNICs, APIS in New York and Geneva, IRIN, ReliefWeb, OCHA Online International and local media outlets, UN agencies, relevant humanitarian actors Provide or assist in media training for OCHA Country Office staff, including coaching for the RC/HC and OCHA Head of Office as appropriate Improve the quality of media work so coverage helps raise profile and spurs humanitarian action APIS in New York and Geneva, IRIN OCHA Head of Office, OCHA Country Office staff Serve as PI surge capacity for new high profile emergencies or natural disasters Quickly and effectively meet media and UNCT demand for PI APIS in New York and Geneva (and through them, USG/ERC) International and local media outlets, UNCT, local humanitarian community 2. Knowledge for effective PI outreach A PI Officer needs to be well-informed in order to effectively consult with stakeholders and communicate with its audience. In-depth knowledge of OCHA and the UN system can make a world of difference as can a genuine understanding of their colleagues’ roles both at headquarters and in the field. First-hand experience and insights of the country in which they are based as well as that of neighbouring countries is vital to establishing credibility and facilitating media relations. PI Officers should be thoroughly familiar with stakeholders and target audiences including the UN system, donors, host and local government representatives, local populations and the broader humanitarian community. They should also be aware of the full range of PI tools available and know how and when to use them to their maximum advantage. 2.1 Know OCHA and its worldwide network 2.1.1 Know the boss PI Officers should maintain open channels of communication with both the RC/HC and the OCHA Head of Office, for whom the PI Officer may serve as primary Spokesperson. As the leader of the UNCT, the RC/HC deals with important information of which the PI Officer should be aware to ensure that they can convey the concerns of the RC/HC (and thereby of the combined UNCT) to external parties. A PI Officer should also be prepared 7
  8. 8. to coach the RC/HC or OCHA Head of Office on media relations, as most journalists prefer interviewing senior UN officials as opposed to their Spokesperson. 2.1.2 Know national staff OCHA national staff represents a gold mine of information and at times is OCHA’s best ambassador to the media and public. PI Officers should listen to their national colleagues’ views on the local media and community attitudes towards the UN and take these into consideration for the PI and advocacy work. 2.1.3 Know focal points at headquarters It is imperative that PI Officers new to OCHA take the time to learn who their focal points within relevant OCHA branches are. Maintaining close links with their counterparts of APIS and CRD at headquarters will generate greater support and information-sharing which is in both parties’ interest. APIS staff is available for consultation and for advice, particularly in the event of controversial information or adverse media coverage. Annex A presents a list of key PI contacts at headquarters. 2.2 Know OCHA’s ‘added value’ PI Officers should appreciate and make known the ‘added value’ of OCHA PI. OCHA is uniquely positioned to provide journalists with the overall humanitarian situation taking into account the full range of issues and actors – UN and non-UN – presenting the who, what, when, where, why and how (5 Ws + 1H) of a humanitarian situation. An OCHA PI Officer in the field serves not only as a valuable source but also a referral service to direct journalists to other humanitarian actors for more specialised information. As a non-operational actor, OCHA is recognised as an objective and trusted information source that maintains strong links with the political, peacekeeping and human rights departments of the UN. Unlike other humanitarian agencies, OCHA plays an overall coordination role and is therefore well-placed to provide a holistic, comprehensive picture of a given crisis. OCHA can also bring matters of critical importance to the attention of the Secretary-General, the Security Council and other important political organs of the UN system more easily than other UN operational agencies. 2.3 Know the context In addition to following reports and developments in the office, a good PI Officer spends significant time in the field with media, UN and NGO partners as well as beneficiaries. Field experience provides PI Officers with first-hand knowledge of what is going on and places them in the position to offer anecdotal observations to the media. PI Officers gain credibility with journalists, colleagues and other stakeholders if they are able to provide a personal account of what they have seen with their own eyes. 2.4 Know the stakeholders and audiences PI Officers regularly interact with a range of groups, providing support and information tailored to each group’s needs and priorities. 2.4.1 UN system PI Officers play an integral role in supporting the RC/HC to ensure that advocacy and PI are core functions of the UNCT. To this end, PI Officers must be familiar with the activities and priorities of other humanitarian actors – particularly those of the various cluster and/or sector leads – and maintain close links with their colleagues in other UN agencies, UNICs, UN peacekeeping missions, and key non-governmental partners to promote the development of common humanitarian positions and the exchange of information. 8
  9. 9. 2.4.2 Donors Donors need current, reliable, field-driven information in order to make informed funding decisions. In addition to providing information for advocacy with donors, PI Officers support the RC/HC and OCHA Country Office to ensure that advocacy and PI needs are adequately reflected in the development of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) and Consolidated Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) process. 2.4.3 Host government and local authorities The RC/HC, UNCT and OCHA Head of Office all require information from the field for use in their relations with national and local authorities. PI Officers may prepare information packages to assist them in advocating to the host government and inform them of emerging issues or emergency needs. 2.4.4 Local populations PI Officers may use PI and advocacy to develop mass information campaigns to inform local populations about the scope and aims of humanitarian activities, as well as about humanitarian concerns and/or how to access humanitarian assistance. 2.4.5 Broader humanitarian community Ideally, common UN humanitarian positions and strategies should aim to complement those of non-UN actors including donors, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the NGO community. In many countries, a local IASC-modelled coordination group focussing on humanitarian issues will serve the function of aligning complementary positions among UN and non-UN actors. 3. The OCHA PI toolbox A PI Officer is responsible for ensuring that information is presented in a manner appropriate to its content and target audience. The OCHA PI toolbox includes: • Situation reports (sitreps); • Press releases; • Inputs to press briefings in New York and Geneva; • News alerts; • Statements attributable to the RC/HC or the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General • Statements attributable to the UNCT, IASC or Executive Committee on Humanitarian Assistance (ECHA); and • Talking points. Which tools are used differs depending on whether the PI Officer is based in the field or at headquarters. In the field, a PI Officer would tend to quote the RC/HC, OCHA Head of Office or another senior official in-country in press releases, whereas at headquarters press releases often contain a quote from the ERC/USG-HA. Statements in the field are attributable to the RC/HC or the UNCT (or may be released as an inter-agency statement); those at headquarters are attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary- General or to the IASC or ECHA. In all cases, close collaboration between headquarters and the field is vital to ensure that information products are used strategically, widely disseminated and followed up for maximum impact. APIS regularly forwards PI products from the field to OCHA’s information platforms (OCHA Online, ReliefWeb and IRIN) as well as to the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI) for use by the UN News Centre (http://www.un.org/news), UN Radio, UN Television and for incorporation in press briefings. 9
  10. 10. The UN official drafting style states that all UN documents should employ British English spelling, with the exception of certain words (see UN Spelling List for complete listing, available on OCHA’s intranet). Numbers from one to ten should be spelled out; after that it is acceptable to use numerals, except at the beginning of a sentence. Acronyms should always be spelled out on first use, with the acronym in parentheses, and United Nations should always be spelled out. When using an acronym at the beginning of a sentence, “the” should always precede the acronym. PI Officers face tight deadlines for the production and transmission of PI materials. Press releases for daily press briefings in New York must be completed by 11:00 am (local time), and Statements attributable to the Secretary-General by 10:00 am EST. For Geneva, biweekly press briefings are at 10:30 am (local time). PI Officers should endeavour to submit inputs by close of business the night before to ensure they are received in time for use the following day. 3.1 Elements of the OCHA PI Toolbox 3.1.1 Situation reports OCHA’s offices in the field are responsible for issuing regular situation reports (sitreps), one of the fundamental information products produced by OCHA. Other humanitarian actors may also produce sitreps according to their respective areas of interest; the advantage of OCHA sitreps is that they are comprehensive of all humanitarian organizations’ activities and concerns. Sitreps are normally public documents although some may be designated ‘internal’ (i.e. not to be shared outside of the UN). They are shared with the media and the public via a range of channels, including being posted on OCHA’s information platforms. Annex B1 provides a draft template for sitreps. Why: Sitreps are an invaluable resource providing the latest consolidated information on humanitarian operations. When: Sitreps should be issued on a regular basis – daily, biweekly, weekly or monthly – depending on the urgency of a situation and the flow of available information. Who and How: PI Officers are responsible for drafting sitreps (unless another officer has officially been designated as Reports Officer) with inputs from OCHA colleagues and/or other humanitarian organizations’ staff. Content: Sitreps should provide as comprehensive an overview as possible, highlighting current/important information. Sitreps being issued on a weekly or more frequent basis provide an overall situation update when reporting requirements are high. When issued on a monthly basis, content should include a situation analysis, detailed description of issues and challenges in key sectors, action for follow-up, media activities, initiatives taken and forthcoming events. All sitreps shall be distributed on OCHA letterhead. Result: Sitreps are regularly turned into press releases, used to draft inputs for press briefings at headquarters, and to draft talking points and other updates for senior OCHA officials. 3.1.2 Press releases The press release is a brief written document (no more than one page long), which is used to provide basic information about humanitarian developments on the record. Press releases may be used to state a position, usually when quoting a senior humanitarian official. Press releases are distributed directly to media outlets; their primary function is to serve as news copy. 10
  11. 11. Both OCHA field offices and headquarters issue press releases as a matter of course. OCHA PI Officers shall always share their press releases with APIS who will ensure their broader distribution. Annex B2 provides a template/sample/tips for a press release. Why: Press releases raise the profile of humanitarian events and issues with the public, media and humanitarian community. When: A PI Officer shall draft a press release if information from official UN – preferably OCHA – sources is newsworthy (important, clear and current). Press releases should not be issued when the information is too old to be interesting or too technical to be easily understood by a broad audience. In the absence of sufficient information for a complete press release, brief inputs can be prepared for press briefings in New York and Geneva. Who and How: PI Officers produce press releases based on sitreps or other information from the field. Facts and figures appearing in press releases should always be double-checked and the final version cleared by the OCHA Head of Office. At headquarters, CRD Desk Officers, in consultation with the field when necessary, will review press releases before their distribution. Press releases touching on political dimensions may require consultation with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA); those touching on security issues with the Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS); and those related to peacekeeping functions with PI counterparts in the relevant UN peacekeeping mission. PI Officers should also consult with other UN agencies and NGOs as appropriate. Once finalised, press releases should be disseminated to journalists and other appropriate distribution channels, including to RSOs and headquarters, where they will be further distributed. Content: A press release should present new and accurate information, using simple language (avoid jargon). Effort should be made to create a compelling headline, and the information presented should be able to be easily reproduced and/or adapted for a range of media. Press releases compete with many other news offers and should therefore be based on real news backed up with fact, written and set out in an appealing and easy-to-follow format so its content can be quickly absorbed. All press releases shall be disseminated on official letterhead (OCHA or UN or inter-agency, as appropriate). Reference should be made to OCHA’s involvement in the issue at hand and the involvement of other actors – particularly other UN actors – must be highlighted (OCHA speaks on behalf of the UN humanitarian system as a whole). Contact information shall be provided at the foot of the press release, including the name and location of the contact person, accompanied by their telephone number and email address. When using quotes by senior officials, the first citation should occur in the second or third paragraph, immediately following the lead. Subsequent paragraphs should provide additional, salient information. Positive developments and solutions should be emphasised wherever possible. For press releases prepared in the field, a quote from a beneficiary can often help build the human interest angle. 11
  12. 12. Result: Press releases are the most common means of disseminating information to local and regional media as well as at headquarters. They are used as the basis of news stories at each level; sometimes they are picked up in their entirety by local press and/or wire services, at others they can serve to open a dialogue with journalists. All press releases are publicly posted on OCHA’s information platforms. Note on quotes by senior UN officials: Whether quoting the ERC/USG-HA, RC/HC, OCHA Head of Office or other senior UN officials, quotes should not be factual (“600,000 people have been displaced”); rather, they should express concern/interest (“I am deeply concerned by the situation of IDPs in Darfur”); invoke a humanitarian principle (“The deliberate displacement of civilian populations is forbidden by international humanitarian law.”); and/or call for action (“I urge all parties to the conflict to immediately stop any action that would endanger civilians.”). When using a quote, a PI Officer should first assess who would speak most authoritatively on the subject at hand and then request permission to include a quote in that official’s name, submitting the draft quote for approval. Quotes must always be approved before being used and should never be altered once approved (except where grammatical or spelling errors detract from the sense). If a quote by the ERC/USG-HA is deemed necessary, a draft quote should submitted to APIS for approval. Note on embargoes: An embargo is a strategy that allows journalists access to a document or information which has yet to be released. The embargo restricts the date journalists can make the information public, but allows them to absorb the information and plan their coverage. Embargoes are usually respected, although major news outlets may release stories to their customers ahead of time, pointing out the embargo – especially true but not limited to wire services. If a journalist requests flexibility on the terms of an embargo and you agree, make sure that the new arrangements are communicated to all other media. It will be more difficult to get co-operation in the future if it is felt that one rival was favoured and given a head start to a story. 3.1.3 Inputs to press briefings in New York and Geneva Where there is important information on a humanitarian situation, but not enough for a press release, inputs may be provided for the regular press briefings at headquarters. Normally, these inputs are prepared by PI Officers at headquarters in the form of bullets. Annex B3 provides samples of such inputs. Why: Inputs allow OCHA to raise the profile of an issue with the media even when there is not enough detailed information for a press release. When: Inputs are appropriate when information is new, interesting and important, but insufficient for a press release. Who and How: Based on sitreps, news alerts and/or other information received from the field, inputs highlight a humanitarian issue and provide basic background facts about the situation. Like press releases, inputs should be reviewed by the OCHA Head of Office or CRD Desk Officer (as appropriate) and then sent to APIS (or to the Office of the Secretary-General/OSSG for PI Officers at headquarters) for the daily press briefing in New York and the biweekly briefing in Geneva. Content: Inputs should provide a one sentence summary and include as many salient facts as possible, including any additional details about UN assistance and/or implications for the humanitarian situation in question. 12
  13. 13. Result: Journalists appreciate and are more likely to cover fresh news, even if the information is not 100 per cent complete. Inputs can precede a press release and promote further coverage once more information becomes available. 3.1.4 News alerts News alerts are a new PI tool for field offices, intended to simultaneously brief APIS, CRD and other interested branches on a developing story. They are designed to be used in a similar way as the media uses breaking news alerts. Annex B4 provides a sample of a news alert. Why: When breaking news occurs, it is important to provide what information is available to RSOs and headquarters, both of which are likely to be contacted about the developments. When: News alerts should be issued when events are rapidly developing, but the situation is not clear enough or there is insufficient time to prepare an input, press release or sitrep. News alerts are expected to be for information only (which should be stated on the news alert), serving to flag people’s attention. Who and How: News alerts should be prepared by PI Officers in the field, based on information from official sources. They should be sent by email to the CRD Desk Officer and APIS, who will forward them as appropriate. Content: A news alert may be no more than two to three lines long, but should convey as much information as is known about the situation. Result: News alerts allow regional and headquarters staff to be apprised of rapidly developing situations, so they may be prepared to handle media and other enquiries. Headquarters may prepare inputs to press briefings at headquarters and/or issue a press release based on the content of a news alert, unless it is for information only, in which case it can serve as background. PI Officers in the field should provide complementary information as soon as possible following the issue of a news alert. 3.1.5 Statements attributable to the RC/HC or Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Statements are issued in the event of significant humanitarian concerns arising out of a developing situation, i.e. the violation of a humanitarian principle, or in the event of a major natural disaster. When issued in the field, statements are attributable to the RC/HC; at headquarters, they are attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary- General. In the field, a PI Officer would normally draft a statement at the request of the RC/HC or OCHA Head of Office. At headquarters, OCHA PI Officers are responsible for proposing and drafting statements, often in consultation with other UN departments, which are subject to the approval of the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Annex B5 provides samples of statements attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. Why: In the event of a violation of a humanitarian principle: Statements draw attention to a violation of a humanitarian principle that has occurred (or is about to occur), its impact on civilians and/or the provision of humanitarian assistance. They are a means of advocacy aimed at influencing and generating a change in behaviour. In the event of a major natural disaster: Statements show the UN cares and is doing something about the disaster’s impact. 13
  14. 14. When: Humanitarian principle violation: Statements are issued immediately following or prior to the occurrence of a significant event. Statements attributable to the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General are used only when conditions are extreme. Statements in the field should be issued when the matter does not require the Secretary-General going on the record; the higher the frequency of such statements, the less impact they make. All other options must be exhausted before a statement is approved. In most instances, an RC/HC statement is preferred. Major natural disaster: Statements are issued when the disaster is large scale, as measured in numbers of lives lost, persons displaced, damage incurred or potential political or other sensitivity of the event. Who and How: Humanitarian principle violation: In the field, RC/HC statements are drafted by the PI Officer, at the request of the RC/HC, OCHA Head of Office or UNCT, in consultation with other UN agencies. At headquarters, Secretary-General statements can be proposed by OCHA, including at the request of colleagues in the field, by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, or by the Secretary-General himself. They are often drafted by APIS, in consultation with CRD and other branches. The CRD Desk Officer is responsible for consulting with all other concerned departments, agencies, and NGOs as necessary. Major natural disaster: Statements in the event of a major natural disaster are formulaic and simple, expressing concern for lives lost and damage incurred, and expressing condolences to victims and their families, Normally such statements are drafted and issued at headquarters, rather than in the field, but the field should propose them to headquarters as appropriate. No statement is issued until approved by the official in whose name it appears. Statements are usually approved by the highest OCHA official before submission to the RC/HC or the Secretary-General. Content: Humanitarian principle violation: Content should present the humanitarian principle at stake, explain an event’s impact on civilians and call for a change in behaviour. Statements are not longer than two or three paragraphs and should open with an expression of concern over the situation, followed by one to two sentences outlining the situation itself. The final sentences should be used to urge or call on parties involved to take steps to address the problem. Major natural disaster: Statements open with an expression of condolence for lives lost, followed by a description of the extent of the disaster and the subsequent UN response. Result: Humanitarian principle violation: Statements register an objection to the violation of a humanitarian principle and provide an entry point for further advocacy efforts. Media will usually cover statements attributable to the RC/HC and/or the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. Major natural disaster: Statements demonstrate the UN’s concern and that it is actively participating in the humanitarian response to the disaster. 14
  15. 15. 3.1.6 Statements attributable to the UNCT, IASC or ECHA Statements attributed to the UNCT (or to multiple UN agencies) or to the IASC or ECHA can be an effective means of calling attention to a new policy or major event. However, they can be unwieldy, and due to the extensive consultative process, often quite slow. Annex B6 provides a sample of a statement attributable to the IASC. Why: Statements announce a new policy or major event, underscoring its importance by having several high-profile voices calling attention to it simultaneously. When: The policy or event covered in such statements are of landmark importance, e.g. announcement of a policy on prevention of sexual exploitation, an HIV/AIDS policy or the results of a national nutritional survey. UNCT, IASC and ECHA statements should not be issued when there is a need for a quick and immediate response as they need to be cleared by all participants, which can significantly delay issuance. Who and How: Proposals for statements come from the UNCT, IASC, ECHA or other UN agencies’ PI focal points. PI Officers, in consultation with other OCHA and agency staff (or APIS consulting with CRD at headquarters), draft a statement and the OCHA Head of Office (or the IASC/ECHA Secretariat), shares the draft with the UNCT, IASC or ECHA for feedback and approval. Content: The statement opens by affirming the joint position of all parties, followed by a description of what the UN as a system is doing about a problem and presenting a series of recommendations and a call for action. Statements are usually one to two pages in length. Result: The position taken carries more weight when presented by more than one agency. IASC statements, while important for the record, are not usually quoted in the media; however, joint statements by several agency heads are often picked up by journalists. 3.1.7 Talking points Talking points are provided to the ERC/USG-HA, RC/HC and other senior OCHA officials in order to highlight key messages and salient facts ahead of press or official meetings. A PI Officer will normally be responsible for drafting, or assisting to draft, talking points ahead of such encounters. Annex B7 provides a sample of talking points. Why: To brief the ERC/USG-HA, RC/HC and other senior OCHA officials on a given humanitarian issue or situation prior to their meeting with the media or other official meetings. When: Talking points should be drafted well before the meeting in order that they be finalised with enough time for the ERC/USG-HA, RC/HC or senior official to review the content and request further background information as necessary, but may be updated to reflect last minute developments. Who and How: Talking points are usually drafted by the focal point for the specific issue being discussed, in consultation with other staff working on the same or related issues. PI Officers draft talking points for all media related events, in consultation with OCHA colleagues (in the field) or CRD Desk Officers (at headquarters). Drafts should be shared with all parties consulted prior to submission for approval by the PI Officer’s superior. Talking points for the ERC/USG-HA and other senior OCHA officials are submitted with an accompanying routing slip to the relevant Special Assistant. 15
  16. 16. Content: Talking points should begin by describing the context of the meeting, providing details about the media or audience present, the duration of the encounter and provide the name and affiliation of the main interlocutor. They should then list the key messages followed by facts for reference, with any analysis or commentary on specific points enclosed in parentheses and italicised following the relevant point. Talking points should keep to one page and should not be longer than two pages. Result: Talking points ensure that the person being interviewed or holding the meeting is well-informed about the most important aspects of a situation with the necessary details and supporting facts at hand. Note on reactive press lines: In the event of negative coverage on the humanitarian response to an emergency, PI Officers may consider reactive press lines, reflecting on how to diffuse or respond to criticism before engaging with the media. Reactive press lines can be prepared by constructing a top-line message accompanied by supporting details, and be disseminated widely among senior and other concerned staff as well as all PI staff who might be contacted by journalists. Coordination with other agencies and/or humanitarian partners for development of the top-line message is advised for issues concerning multiple stakeholders. Tips for difficult interviews or press conferences are available in Annex E. Note on Questions & Answers: A frequently used tool developed prior to meetings is series of questions and answers prepared by a PI Officer by thinking strategically about questions that might be asked during the encounter and developing appropriate standard responses to those questions. PI Officers should ask themselves what are the most problematic questions that could be asked, developing answers and/or tactics to direct the conversation towards other issues of interest. 4. OCHA information platforms OCHA’s information platforms comprise OCHA Online, individual field office websites, ReliefWeb and Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN). All are complementary resources that can be used to provide fast, accurate and relevant information on complex emergencies or natural disasters to external audiences. In 2006, OCHA launched its intranet, which provides OCHA staff at headquarters and in the field with a space to share information internally. 4.1 OCHA Online and field office websites 4.1.1 OCHA Online http://ochaonline.un.org OCHA Online is OCHA’s corporate website that presents information about OCHA (history, mandate, structure, branches and field offices, funding); issues of interest to the humanitarian community and issues identified as priority by the ERC/USG-HA; humanitarian tools and services developed and offered by OCHA; and PI products such as press releases, speeches and statements, reports and policy papers and newsletters. OCHA Online acts as a gateway to other OCHA websites, including the CAP, IASC and field office websites. 4.1.2 Field office websites http://ochaonline.un.org/country In 2006, a field office website template and policy were developed for application and reference by OCHA offices in the field (OCHA Field Website Policy available on the OCHA intranet). Before building their own website Country Offices should consult headquarters and ensure their websites are developed in accordance with the 16
  17. 17. specifications presented in the policy. The purpose of field office websites is based on, but not limited to, the provision of the following content: 1. Background information on a disaster or crisis; 2. Situation reports; 3. Who What Where information; 4. Contact information; 5. Meetings (schedule, agendas and minutes); 6. Surveys and assessments; 7. Geographic information (maps, P-codes etc); 8. Funding material; 9. Media reports; and 10. General resources that support the presence of OCHA, such as vacancy announcements, useful links, country profile documentation, policy documents etc. 4.2 ReliefWeb http://www.reliefweb.int Created in 1996 to address poor communication among members of the humanitarian community during a major crisis, ReliefWeb has come to represent the main online portal on humanitarian emergencies. It collects information from more than 2,000 sources, including OCHA, IRIN, UN agencies, NGOs and other international organizations, governments, academia/research institutions and the media. ReliefWeb offices in New York, Geneva and Kobe provide time-critical coverage of global emergencies 23 hours per day. ReliefWeb is a valuable resource to humanitarian workers, providing useful orientation as well as a wealth of current and archived records on a country’s humanitarian situation. Maps, sitreps, emergency bulletins, funding updates, professional resources and general news about humanitarian crises are some of the numerous resources accessible through user-friendly categorisation and search facilities on ReliefWeb. 4.3 Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) http://www.irinnews.org IRIN’s principal role is to provide news and analysis for the humanitarian community, targeting relief agencies, host and donor governments, human rights organizations, humanitarian advocacy groups, academic institutions and the media. It also strives to ensure that affected communities can access reliable information so they can make informed decisions about their future. In addition to its free web and email news services, IRIN offers HIV/AIDS-specialist news (Plusnews), develops radio content, produces short documentaries and news footage, publishes in-depth reports/web specials and maintains an online digital photo library. Newswire services pay close attention to IRIN reporting, and an issue raised by IRIN is often reprinted in the regional papers or covered by a main news network shortly afterwards. IRIN has a growing worldwide readership of more than one million people, with many more receiving IRIN news indirectly through other websites and newspapers. IRIN’s main language for news output is English, with limited news services published in French, Kiswahili and Dari. Note on the relationship between IRIN and OCHA PI: While IRIN is structurally a part of OCHA, its news service is editorially independent and does not necessarily reflect the views of the UN. PI Officers should consider IRIN as a specialised humanitarian news service that, although part of the UN system, does not strive to promote the Organization. PI Officers should not expect IRIN to explicitly support their OCHA PI role; similarly, they are not expected to deal with enquiries relating to IRIN articles and should refer them to 17
  18. 18. the IRIN Managing Editor accordingly. In the event of a deteriorating security situation, PI Officers are in the position to facilitate IRIN access to restricted areas by raising awareness among Field Security Officers and the RC/HC and highlighting the importance of timely news and analysis of the evolving situation. PI Officers are encouraged to make contributions, propose issues for IRIN to cover and forward photographs for inclusion in IRIN’s photo bank. IRIN Radio also provides PI Officers with opportunities to relay information to affected communities on humanitarian activities or other issues that may be of interest and/or benefit to them. 4.4 OCHA Intranet http://ochaonline2.un.org/intranet The primary purpose of OCHA’s intranet is to provide a platform for information exchange between headquarters and the field. With an emphasis on internal information exchange, the intranet supports knowledge sharing and building a stronger institutional memory. The intranet benefits from integrated content from OCHA’s document management system at headquarters and in the field. All OCHA staff is encouraged to consult the intranet on a regular basis, drawing upon and contributing to the resources available online. The intranet is increasingly being recognised as a valuable resource through which OCHA staff can share useful information and good practices with their colleagues. 5. Engaging with the media Media relations are a crucial component of a PI Officer’s daily work. Attracting media attention is not an end in itself, but a means for OCHA to reach its key audiences (government officials, military actors, community groups, donors, etc.) for a specific purpose (advocacy, communicate information, donor support, etc.). PI Officers shall be very clear about their objectives before developing a media strategy and seeking journalists’ attention, avoiding situations that could potentially hinder or undermine humanitarian operations such as negotiating access or dealing with a security incident. While one issue may benefit from media attention (a natural disaster requiring immediate donor funding), another (attack on a local staff member) may be greatly compromised under the spotlight of the media. 5.1 Rules for OCHA media engagement PI Officers shall be familiar with the document UN Secretariat relations with the media to appreciate the fundamental principles that guide the Organization in its dealing with the press (annex C). Before engaging with the media, a PI Officer shall ensure their office has performed the following: • Designated Spokesperson/people for the UNCT and OCHA Country Office and determine under what circumstances other OCHA staff might communicate with the media. Generally, the spokespeople will be the RC/HC, OCHA Head of Office and PI Officer. • Establish procedures for rapid clearance of press releases and other PI products, obtaining timely updates from the field, where to direct media enquiries. • Establish regular contact with APIS New York and Geneva and remain available to them at all times. • Establish criteria for accepting/declining news media interviews: Who will talk, to whom, when, and under what conditions? The following elements should be taken into consideration for all OCHA media engagement. 18
  19. 19. 5.1.1 For all media: • Establish the main point and say it in simple and effective language. • Brainstorm in advance the worst possible question that could be asked and prepare an answer to respond to or deflect that question, seeking guidance from the OCHA Head of Office, RC/HC or APIS staff at headquarters if necessary. • Avoid saying “no comment”. Bridge the question to a different topic or deflect it. • Admit honestly if you do not know an answer and offer to provide the answer as soon as possible after checking. Do not guess nor speculate. PI Officers may respond to tricky questions (particularly political ones) by saying the question is outside of their area of expertise and then go on to bridge to different material. 5.1.2 Print media: • Clarify in advance whether the media encounter is on record/off record/on background/on deep background. The UN speaks on the record. Everything said during a media encounter is considered on the record unless specifically noted otherwise (best agreed upon in advance). • Off record/on background means the information provided can be used but you are not named as the source. Instead, both parties must agree beforehand how the source is identified. Options for protecting your identity include being referred to as a ‘UN worker’, an ‘aid worker’ or being identified as an ‘informed source’ – the latter being the safest, if most distant, possibility. Off the record formulations should be used sparingly and only when there is some overriding reason for OCHA to disclose information with which it is not prepared to be identified. • If you choose to speak off the record or on background, you should do so with care and should have established trust with the journalist. An unethical journalist might reveal your identify and thus ruin your reputation. • On deep background means the information is for background purposes only and cannot be sourced to you. The information provided serves as a tip or lead to a journalist to investigate the story using other, independent sources to confirm veracity. • You may choose to bring a tape recorder and tape your media encounter, informing the journalist in advance that you are planning to record the interview. The tape will provide a record of what is said should there be any questions/issues later either within OCHA or with the journalist. Note on “on the record” versus “background” or “deep background” information: PI Officers shall only give off the record information when the situation truly merits. The UN is a public organization; its engagement with the media should reflect this. 5.1.3 Radio and television: • Ask in advance if the interview will be live or taped and ask about the duration. Most taped television interviews offer only a few minutes or even seconds for you to speak. Much of what you say may be cut down to a single sound bite. • Clarify in advance that as a humanitarian, you do not discuss political issues. • Ask if there are other participants in the interview or other speakers to be interviewed for the same segment. If so, who? • Ask about and avoid having your voice used as a voice over with other film footage as you will have no control over what images are shown as your words are aired. Note on taped versus live interviews: Taped interviews are extremely tricky as the material can be cut and edited without your control. Ask and agree in advance if comments can be rephrased or struck from the record (e.g. a second chance to correct/clarify/correct a stumble). Live interviews may seem intimidating because they provide no chance for corrections but they offer a distinct advantage: they provide the opportunity to convey your message exactly as you wish to express it. 5.2 19
  20. 20. Developing an OCHA or UNCT media strategy Developing an OCHA (or UNCT) media strategy is an essential part of PI and thus a key responsibility for all OCHA PI officers as well as for the OCHA Head of Office and the RC/HC. The media strategy should have clearly defined objectives that support the overall advocacy goals of the Country Office/UNCT. As suggested earlier in the Handbook, PI Officers may consider forming a UN or wider humanitarian community communications group which will facilitate the development of a UNCT media strategy. A media strategy can be developed by following four steps: 1. Establish your goals; 2. Know your audience; 3. Know your issue; and 4. Create a plan of action. 5.2.1 Establish your goals Before embarking on a media campaign, clearly articulate your desired goals. Goals should be realistic given the office’s capacity while reflecting the urgency and extent of humanitarian needs throughout the country. Goals must drive press efforts, not the other way around. Examples of goals are: • Secure endorsements by select opinion and political leaders; • Educate the public about the issue and/or stop discriminatory practices; • Enhance the profile and visibility of a given issue; • Change misconceptions about an issue; and • Give voice to those individuals/communities affected by the issue. 5.2.2 Know and target your audience Who are you trying to reach? You may have several target audiences who should receive your message or you may have only one specific audience. Establishing and being familiar with your targeted audience is essential and will determine the scope of your media strategy. Target audiences for your messages may include UN agencies, NGOs/civil society, government/local officials, decision-makers, voters, donors, women, youth, armed combatants and the local community. Know your local audience: Consider supporting a radio programme or writing up a newsletter in the local language to be handed out at checkpoints and to the community at large explaining the basic principles of humanitarianism (neutrality, impartiality and independence). Include quotes from a broad swath of community leaders (all major ethnic groups/religions) on the importance of humanitarian action. Such a newsletter can help open up access for humanitarian action as well as enhance staff security. 5.2.3 Know your issue Knowing your issue means you must brief yourself first before briefing anyone else. Ask yourself the obvious questions a journalist might ask you using the 5 Ws + 1H as your guide; if you can’t answer the question yourself, then research the answer. Journalists respect PI Officers who know at least the basics of what they’re talking about and aren’t just ‘spinning’ a story. Knowing your issue will not only build your credibility with the media but also with other key audiences. Knowing your issue also means knowing how to frame the issue, identify a news hook and create core messages. Framing the issue: Do not assume journalists will appreciate the importance of a humanitarian issue nor assume they will be sympathetic. PI Officers should be able to respond convincingly to the question: “Why should an audience half a world away care about this?”. The media has its own criteria for judging what news value is and to get journalists’ attention you will need to frame the issue in an appealing way. For instance, if the media is covering peace talks, use this as an opportunity to talk about humanitarian principles and protection of civilians. Rather than focusing exclusively on OCHA/UN/humanitarian activities in the country, news should be about higher principles or a human story. It should have drama and real impact on people. 20
  21. 21. Finding a news hook: Do not waste journalists' time with something that is not news. Reflect on what kind of news hooks will attract media attention and which is the more appropriate to journalists you want to cover your story. Examples of news hooks include: • Problem-Solution: This simple set-up rarely fails to grab attention: there is a problem, and here’s what we (OCHA/UN/humanitarian community) are doing about it. • Dramatic human interest: Include the stories of real people, their triumphs, tragedies, adventures and anecdotes. Also think of ‘weird’ news, off beat stories that might capture the media’s imagination. • Trends: These are stories that suggest new opinions, behaviour patterns and attitudes. Three is a trend; find at least three examples to assert that a new trend is emerging. • Key dates calendar: Tie the story to an event or anniversary already in the news. One year later, a decade since XX. For example, International Human Rights Day can be a hook for protection of civilians in countries undergoing conflict. • New announcement: Is your news ‘unprecedented’ or ‘groundbreaking’ or ‘first-ever’? Reporters are only interested in new news, not old news. Make your news fresh. • Localise national story (and vice versa): Take a nationally breaking story and emphasize its local impact, e.g. how fighting in a district is affecting access to life saving health services. • Fresh angle on old story: Take an old story and put a fresh twist on it. • Profiles and personnel: Here you feature individuals, community leaders or galvanizing spokespersons that may become news themselves because of their personal stories of heroism, inspiration or great hardship. • Respond and react: Frame your story in reaction to news or events elsewhere. Use comparative or oppositional phrasing (e.g. “While the world focuses on the debacle in Iraq, aid workers in Timor-Leste are overcoming the painful legacy of warfare through an unprecedented vaccination effort to reach every child under age five...”). • Celebrity: If you have a nationally known celebrity on your side, make sure they are included in the story. • Strange bedfellows: Have unlikely allies come together in solidarity over your issue? Highlight it in your story. Note on creating core messages: Messages should be simple: “There is a problem and we are doing something about it”. Naturally, in many emergencies the solution is far from black and white and PI Officers will need to document the situation using data and anecdotal evidence (real-life stories). Such information may be presented in the form of a report or released at a press conference. PI Officers should identify key messages to be readily communicated by the OCHA Head of Office and other relevant UNCT staff and external audiences. Wherever possible, PI Officers should show how lack of media attention means a solution is harder to come by, e.g. no media coverage of malnourished children in a war zone means local authorities will feel less pressure to open up access to aid workers. Provide examples when using figures and statistics in order to generate better understanding of the issue as large numbers are difficult to comprehend and the human side often gets lost. Word images can assist in clarifying messages, e.g. “35,000 children die needlessly every day – which is like 100 jumbo jets carrying 350 children each crashing daily” (UNICEF). 5.2.4 Create a plan of action After completing the three steps described above, a media plan of action may be developed. The plan should identify which media are targeted (e.g. local reporters, BBC, radio only, etc.), determine the channel for communication (press release, background briefing, media event, etc.), decide when and how often the communication will take place (daily for 2 months following the emergency, weekly, monthly, etc.), designate the main communicator/focal point within OCHA/UNCT and identify the resources required to 21
  22. 22. implement the plan. A successful media plan of action will maintain a focus on the achievement of its overall objective by ensuring its various elements complement and leverage the impact of one another, monitoring and measuring its progress on a regular basis. When developing their media plan, PI Officers should ask a range of questions: How will you communicate your message?: Do you want to hold press conferences, reporters’ briefings, meetings with editorial boards, public forums? Do you want to hold events highlighting your initiatives through visits of the ERC/USG-HA or other senior colleagues? Do you want to get an opinion editorial (‘op-ed’) in the papers? Choose events that give you a realistic chance of success, based on your resources. What are your deliverables: media advisories, press kit, reports, polls, press releases? When and how will you distribute them? What opportunities can you capitalise on?: Are there prominent local personalities you can enlist to write articles or speak on radio/television on behalf of the legislation? Are any high-level UN officials coming to your area who could speak to the media on this issue? Any major political gatherings/events in the region that could serve as a news hook for your issue? What are the challenges you face?: In general, expect opposition from some lawmakers and a lack of information and/or opposition on the part of the general public. How are you going to address these obstacles? What resources do you have?: What staff has experience dealing with the media? Do you have allies on this issue – UN agencies, donors, NGOs, faith groups, health organizations, unions – who can help with media coverage and/or attend an event? What other people or resources can you draw in, e.g. volunteers, non-traditional sources of funding, etc.? Are you suitably equipped?: Much of media work is keeping lists. Do you already have a list of press contacts? Do you have a story bank, a database of people – with contact information – you can use to give reporters real-life stories? Do you know who your supporters are and what they can do for you, e.g. turn out a crowd at an event? Do you have a press information kit that explains to reporters, clearly and concisely, the important facts of your issue? Do you have T-shirts, buttons or other visuals you can use at press events or other venues? How will you know if you've been effective? Look back at your chosen media strategies. Did you achieve the goals and objectives you laid out? You can track the number of media ‘hits’ or responses to your pitches, using clippings bureaus. Online media monitoring can be conducted through web news services such as Google News, Yahoo and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) news feeds/readers. If your goal was to increase the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) accessing social services, look at access numbers before and after your media activities. If you wanted to increase community awareness of IDP issues, conduct a before-and-after survey to evaluate your campaign. Have the media come to rely on you as a trusted source? Has the level of awareness of the issue heightened in the media since you began your efforts? Success may be measured on many different levels, so be sure to identify all your accomplishments and failures. Use each encounter with the media as a learning experience for the future. Are you adequately prepared for the unexpected?: Media plans should simultaneously maximise opportunities and address/overcome challenges as they arise. While news cannot be predicted, PI Officers can concentrate their media efforts on predictable or 22
  23. 23. foreseen events (e.g. a presidential visit, immunization days, etc.) while maintaining their focus and carefully targeting their core messages to achieve their goals. Challenges such as negative coverage can be prepared for by developing a plan in advance rather than waiting for and responding to a media crisis afterwards. Dealing with a media avalanche: No one or even two PI Officers can adequately deal with the media onslaught in the wake of a major disaster. When a disaster erupts (or is foreseen – more predictable in complex emergency settings), it is the PI Officer’s responsibility to carefully evaluate their Country Office’s PI capacity to determine whether it has sufficient resources to deal with the media and to request additional support accordingly. PI Officers should avoid attempting to single-handedly confront a mad media frenzy, risking missed media opportunities to highlight the humanitarian situation. Rather, other OCHA colleagues and PI Officers from other agencies may provide the frontline in the field to deal with increased media attention. PI Officers stationed in RSOs can be requested to provide backup, either from their post locations or by surging to the Country Office. In 2005, OCHA developed a PI surge capacity roster, which may be drawn upon if necessary. Examples of PI surge capacity include deployment in response to major natural disasters (South Asia earthquake), emergence of a new crisis (Lebanon) or serious deterioration in an existing emergency (Cote d’Ivoire). Requests for PI surge capacity should be forwarded by the OCHA Head of Office to APIS and CRD, which will take them forward at headquarters. 5.3 Practical tips for effective media engagement Helping journalists do their jobs will help PI Officers do theirs. Effective media engagement is about facilitating journalists get the story; however, make sure the demands of journalists do not interfere with operations. Do not be intimidated; be firm in setting ground rules to protect OCHA and its work and avoid making comments that could potentially put them in a compromising position. When possible, suggest alternate sources and refer journalists to other UN colleagues. Be fast, factual, frank, friendly and fair: Be fast: Remember that the media work to deadlines. Speed is critical to them. Always return calls with the minimum of delay and ensure colleagues do the same as well. Encourage the media to call you at any time and make sure you or your colleagues are available day or night when important changes in the situation occur, or when there is to be a major movement of UN/OCHA personnel. Journalists always welcome an advance warning about stories that are about to break. Be factual: Use simple, clear language, not ‘UN-speak’, including relevant quotes wherever possible. Avoid alarmist and emotional language in releases and briefings; just state the facts. PI Officers shall not make evaluations, speculations or predictions. You are speaking on the record unless you state otherwise. Be frank: If you don’t know the answer, admit it honestly. If information is not available, say so. Journalists value trust and honesty, especially when it comes to an organization admitting its own mistakes. They want information straight from the field, including sitreps, and appreciate having direct access to the people working there. PI Officers shall not exaggerate the OCHA or UN contribution. This is critical in any operation involving host government, local authorities, international agencies, and NGOS. PI Officers shall be generous in giving credit to active partners, avoiding claims or sole credit for OCHA for shared operations or activities. 23
  24. 24. Be friendly: Know the names and affiliations of journalists and inform APIS about your contacts with specific journalists. Track the interviews and briefings you provide. Wherever possible, wear UN identification clothing. Treat local media with the same respect and care that you give to international media. This is especially critical in situations where the UN is perceived negatively. Be fair: Be prepared to assist in arranging a place on an aircraft or truck carrying supplies to journalists who are eager to reach affected areas. Give places to journalists representing the most influential media outlets, but do not imply or expect that this will ‘buy’ coverage favourable to OCHA. If you agree to help journalists who have travelled with OCHA send back film or videotape to be forwarded to their head office, be sure you and the journalist agree on the details. Further practical tips include: Political awareness and sensitivity: Avoid making unnecessary comments about matters not directly related to OCHA concerns. Refrain from commenting on the policies or actions of the government or other agencies on issues apart from those related to OCHA’s humanitarian mandate. Because OCHA cooperates with journalists, it risks being identified with negative journalism. This may anger the government and strain its relations with OCHA. Take particular care not to provide journalists with comments that could be used to link OCHA to criticism or negative coverage. Pitching a forgotten humanitarian story: With a little determination, a targeted news pitch, credible statistics and first-hand reporting, news editors will take notice of a forgotten emergency. Make a connection between the forgotten crisis and another crisis in the public eye, such as contrasting humanitarian needs between the two (e.g. “Some three million civilians have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998, the highest death toll since World War II”) and invite a few journalists to the field to witness the crisis first-hand. What was previously a forgotten humanitarian story can make headline news. Journalists’ security in the field: Keep track of the national and international journalists you are working with in insecure environments – for their safety and yours. A simple form that includes the reporters’ names, affiliations, contact details, stated interests, and what information they have been briefed on can be very helpful should the situation turn violent or chaotic. By keeping records (such as this type of form) a Country Office can alert relevant agencies, sub-offices, and NGOs when sympathetic journalists are passing through. Once a relationship of trust has been established share security information with journalists off the record. 5.4 Media activities In addition to the PI tools described earlier, PI Officers have a range of activities from which to choose in the development of their media strategy. Press conferences, briefings, field trips, interviews, photography, maps, presentations and the CAP are all events on which a PI Officer can capitalise and use to communicate to the media. 5.4.1 Press conferences Press conferences are held for major events or announcements by senior OCHA or UN officials. They should be well planned and publicised. A media advisory (see annex B8 for template) providing the time and place, the main speaker(s)’s name(s) and a brief indication of the topic should be sent to the media 48 hours before the event, followed by telephone calls to key journalists to encourage attendance. A press release or detailed background paper covering the essentials of what is to be announced and the name/title of the moderator and speaker(s), should be prepared for distribution to the journalists as 24
  25. 25. they arrive (or, second best, as they leave). This should also be sent to journalists unable to attend. The location should be large enough to seat the maximum number of journalists, but not so large that it will seem poorly attended. There should be room for television lights and cameras, a separate table for the speakers and any necessary visual aids. Try to place a UN flag where it will appear in photos and on television. Where appropriate, have a map, diagrams, enlarged photos and/or a flip pad with black marker pen mounted on an easel near the speaker’s table for use if needed. Avoid audiovisual aids if the conference is being televised. An assistant should be stationed at the entrance to hand out information and to invite participants to register – or pass around a sign-up sheet. This will help in the development of your media list. Press conferences are handled by a moderator – in some cases this may be the PI Officer – known to the media and who can encourage questions from reporters. They can sometimes be hostile and therefore the PI officer and speaker should be prepared in advance to deal with usually predictable, difficult and critical questions. Do not try to dismiss tough questions when they arise; answer them frankly, calmly and politely. Tips for difficult interviews or press conferences are available in Annex E. Try to keep presentations to 10 minutes, leaving plenty of time for questions. A press conference should run from 30 to 45 minutes and never longer than an hour. The speaker should speak in a clear voice in measured phrases to be intelligible to journalists who are not proficient in the language. He or she must use simple language and avoid bureaucratic jargon. If the press conference has more than one speaker, the announcement and background remarks should not take more than 15 minutes. Key points may be written on cards for the speaker’s reference; a speaker who constantly looks down at a text, instead of at the camera or the audience, is rarely convincing. 5.4.2 Media briefings A useful way for OCHA to update selected reporters on specific activities or to clarify complicated or emerging issues for them is to hold a media briefing. This is not a formal press conference for the entire press corps; rather, it should bring together journalists particularly interested in a situation with an authority who can discuss it in detail in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. The briefing will be most effective if conducted by a respected expert or by a person who has just returned from the scene of a newsworthy activity or emergency. No announcements should be made at a briefing, nor is a press release distributed although a background paper may be made available. The purpose is to increase media understanding of a situation and to promote accurate coverage that reflects OCHA’s or the UN’s viewpoints. This briefing format should be reserved for special situations and/or take advantage of the presence of a particularly knowledgeable OCHA official or partner. It should be used sparingly. Only journalists should be invited. Like press conferences, journalists should be given at least 48 hours advance notice of the time, place and subject of the briefing by way of a media advisory (annex B8). Allow up to an hour for a briefing. It must be clearly established at the outset whether or not the briefing is on the record, although in most circumstances it is recommended to speak on the record. The person conducting the briefing must know that anything not specifically prefaced by “This is off the record, please,” may be reported by journalists. An alternative to ‘off the record’ is to allow for information to be reported without direct attribution to OCHA (for ‘off the record’ alternatives, see 5.1 Rules for OCHA media engagement). 5.4.3 Media field trips Nothing is as effective in gaining media attention as letting journalists see the humanitarian situation on the ground themselves. OCHA encourages visits to the field, 25
  26. 26. often in collaboration with other UN agencies. Field visits for local journalists (often coordinated with a government ministry and accompanied by a PI Officer) can be useful for advocacy, offering an opportunity to observe the dimensions of a problem and the effectiveness of the solution underway. It is to be expected that local media will focus primarily on the government and community roles, not on OCHA. Field visits either originate with the media, perhaps with some contacts or logistical help requested from OCHA or are planned and largely organized by OCHA. It is important that everyone involved, especially the host government and on-site aid workers, knows the difference. When coordinating a media field trip, PI Officers should make clear to participants the subject, scope and approach of the reporting planned, what financial, logistical and security arrangements are necessary and the precise responsibility of OCHA and each of its partners. OCHA usually covers the cost of travel in UN vehicles and aircraft, regardless of whether it takes place within a country or between countries. Media are expected to cover all commercial travel and expenses for lodging and board, unless they are taken to a location where such facilities are not commercially available. Photographers should be clearly warned about what they should not shoot and explained the appropriate procedure when visiting sacred places, polite forms of address, courtesy rituals to be expected and returned, etc. While it is generally unwise to combine the visits of writers and photographers with film crews, you may have no choice in the matter. If you do so, then you should try to make another vehicle and PI officer available for the film crew. A single focal point that will carry ultimate responsibility for the trip should be designated at an early stage, allowing plenty of lead time to plan an appropriate itinerary, avoiding variations if possible. The focal point should also take care of logistics (confirm maximum numbers accommodated by field transport; arrange arrival/hotel/on-site visits; ensure participants have the necessary documentation for the trip). OCHA should not be involved in vouching for the visitors in visa applications or in trying to arrange interviews with government leaders. If anything goes sour, this would unnecessarily cast blame on OCHA. An exception to this rule is helping out with customs clearance. A promise to arrange a meet-the-press session with a Head of State or Government Minister can help ‘sell’ the trip. The trip should start with a briefing about OCHA, partners and in-country activities, followed by a visit to the site itself, allowing maximum exposure to selected projects and minimum briefings. The PI Officer or other officer speaking the language of the visitors should accompany all co-production television crews and the more important media visitors to ensure that questions are properly answered and that no unfamiliar scenes and situations are misinterpreted. Remember, OCHA will not be there when the film is finally edited. Once on site, do not overlook the schedule: interviews take time and journalists need opportunities to gather impressions. Do not try to debrief the journalists during the trip. Rather, a debriefing session should be held at the OCHA office in the presence of the OCHA Head of Office or another senior official in order that questions, clarifications, misunderstandings, etc. can be immediately addressed. It may also be possible to glean the spin of the story – this is important if negative or unexpected conclusions were drawn by the journalist. Keep evenings free as this will earn you plus points; but avoid inviting journalists to a meal at the fanciest restaurant in town. Be careful that your readiness to be a tour guide to the local beauty spots does not give the impression that OCHA ‘humanitarians’ live like kings amid poverty! 26
  27. 27. 5.4.4 Media interviews An interview is a briefing for a single journalist and may produce an exclusive story. Sometimes OCHA offers an exclusive interview to a selected journalist in order to increase the chances of its information or advocacy reaching a particular audience. When a journalist requests an interview, it is the job of the PI Officer to determine in advance what the thrust of the interview might be, to prepare the interviewee and to consider how to respond to any controversial questions. The PI Officer should also conduct a debriefing following the interview. A telephone call or any conversation with a journalist should be considered as interview material. An unexpected call from a journalist can always be delayed by offering to call back allowing time to discuss the questions with the OCHA Head of Office; the call should be returned within an hour. Telephone interviews for radio are always recorded and other interviews may be taped by the caller. In the case of very sensitive issues, OCHA may record the call after having informed the other party at the outset. If you are unable to discuss any matter, explain to the journalist why or tell them the person who is most up-to-date on the matter is unavailable, but that you will get back with the information as soon as possible. The same applies when you simply do not know the answer to a question. Be honest and do not be provoked into making a hasty answer. Make the points you wish to emphasise early into the interview, keeping answers reasonably short for impact and in order to cover as much ground as possible. Try to work in anecdotes from personal experience: “Last week when I was up in Zuma Province, I met a doctor who ought to be a national hero...”. Avoid overloading replies with too many figures and instead give the interviewer background documents with the supporting details. PI Officers should be prepared to provide background briefing if necessary to bring journalists up to speed prior to the interview(s). PI Officers are responsible for ensuring they follow three basic principles in their relations with the media: Be honest and accurate: It is important to repeat the premise that you should always seek to respond honestly to questions from the media. Honesty, however, does not mean you have to tell everything you know. There are many times when you may need to be discreet about what you say to the media. Be factual: Whenever possible, present the media with factual information about a humanitarian operation. Every attempt should be made to provide the media with accurate information since erroneous information will ruin not only a PI Officer’s credibility, but also that of the Organization. Factual information is also more difficult to dispute. Do not provide figures unless you are confident they are accurate. Always cite sources for any figures you release. Be open and transparent: Journalists also want to know about the problems you face and what you are doing to overcome these difficulties. Avoid trying to hide problems or mistakes and never ask for a story to be suppressed – attempts at censorship almost always backfire. In fact, it is almost always best to talk about problems before the media find out about them on their own – they usually do. 5.4.5 Photography A picture speaks a thousand words. OCHA uses photographs for its publications and PI materials and always requires images of emergencies and their impact on civilians as well as of OCHA staff in action. All OCHA Country Offices should have a digital camera on hand; OCHA staff is encouraged to make use of the camera and provide photographs to APIS or IRIN. Photographs submitted should be accompanied by a basic caption, stating when the photograph was taken (the year and, in emergencies, the month) and where 27
  28. 28. (the name and whether it is a town, district, etc.), as well as identifying the subjects (by group or function, if names are not known) and any relevance to OCHA. Credit information should always accompany a photograph. If the image is fully owned by OCHA, crediting should acknowledge the OCHA Country Office from which the image is sent, a reference number to track the image and link it to its image file and the name of the photographer. Images which are owned by others but donated for OCHA use also need to be credited; in these cases, it is important to clarify OCHA’s reproduction rights (internal or external use). The identity (name, nationality, location, personal story) of people being interviewed or photographed by OCHA or the media may need to be protected to ensure that subsequent publication does not put the subjects at risk of future reprisals. In instances where publication of an image may put beneficiaries at risk even if the name is changed or omitted entirely is best not published at all. In order to respect the subject’s right to privacy, publication should be preceded by the securing of a signed release by the subject. A note on working with photographers: PI Officers should facilitate the work of photographers to encourage media coverage of humanitarian issues in a balanced and sensitive manner, recognising the political and humanitarian complexities of emergencies. Ideally, in emergencies, defeatism should be counterbalanced by juxtaposing images of suffering (images that illustrate the need for relief assistance) alongside positive illustrations demonstrating that assistance can be effective and ultimately lead to recovery. Developing relationships with local professionals is vital to promoting this kind of coverage. 5.4.6 Maps Maps are a very effective means of communicating a large amount of humanitarian data and information in a simple geographic form. Maps complement PI products and services particularly well: street plans can assist journalists in making their way to key locations and venues for media activities; topographic maps support background and orientation information for journalists new to the country; administrative boundary maps help the media to understand the political and social set-up of a region. PI Officers may use maps to accompany articles, include in press kits/reports/presentations and display on posters and similar PI materials. ReliefWeb, Humanitarian Information Centres (HIC), OCHA Information Management Units (IMU) and UN peacekeeping missions employ specialised staff to develop geographic, thematic and interactive maps for the humanitarian community. An extensive collection of maps is also available from the map depository Maps on Demand of OCHA’s Field Information Services (FIS) Unit, available via OCHA Online. 5.4.7 Public speaking and presentations Interpersonal (face-to-face) communication is a highly effective way of conveying a message to an audience provided that the presentation or speech is well prepared and tailored for its audience. The development of a presentation should consider the following steps: • Clarify your aim: Ask yourself the following questions: Why am I making this presentation? Who is my audience? How old are they? What is their level of knowledge of the topic? What might their reaction be to what I have to say? What questions will they ask? What will they do with the information I give them? How will I structure my presentation? How many key points will I put in? • Brainstorm: Give yourself 20 minutes and write down everything you know about the subject. Take a break. 28
  29. 29. • Group: Go back and group the material for a 20-minute presentation into a maximum of three main topics, allowing five minutes per topic. Two minutes should be allowed for pauses in between three key topic areas and three minutes for the introduction and conclusion. When grouping material, think about the key points you want to communicate and give them titles so it is clear to both you and your audience. Create ‘signposts’ to make it easy for your audience to follow. • Order the topics according to your aim: Put the most important topic first and the rest in a logical progression. • Evaluate the pros and cons of using presentation software/visual aids: PowerPoint is a visual aid, not simply a pretty screen for the audience to gaze at and an excuse for you to drone on. Using visual aids should grab the audience’s attention and help focus on your message. Photographs, maps and graphics can be easily incorporated into slides that add an additional dimension; however, make sure you practise delivery before delivering your presentation. Keep slides to a minimum and avoid a high-tech presentation that could be seen as being too slick. Most importantly, ensure that the equipment and technology is available and functioning beforehand and always print a set of black and white transparencies as a back-up. 5.4.8 The Consolidated Appeals Process The Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) and the rapid response Flash Appeals are critical global advocacy, coordination and fundraising tools for the humanitarian community. An appeal presents comprehensive information on a given emergency and its priority needs, providing a strong basis for media outreach and advocacy. PI Officers should organise a local media launch for the CAP or Flash Appeal, which can either be a part of, follow or replace a headquarters launch. The media launch should be attended by the OCHA Head of Office and an important government counterpart as well as by OCHA staff and partners to answer questions if necessary. Normally, the OCHA Head of Office will present the appeal and make a brief statement on its main messages and their relevance to the local humanitarian situation. PI Officers should distribute embargoed information kits in advance to editors and key journalists, emphasising the importance of observing the embargoed release time, fixed by the time of the global launch. Make personal visits and calls to whet the appetite of editors for its news value. News agency coverage of the global launch may reach the media ahead of your local launch; explain to editors that your media launch will have local angles and will be worth waiting for. Prepare a press release summarizing the main points and distribute it at the launch and forward it to all journalists. The press release should include a quote from the OCHA Head of Office relating the appeal to local conditions and outlining OCHA’s role in assisting the government. After the launch, propose to television and radio producers a panel discussion on the national significance of the CAP and suggest the OCHA Head of Office and other knowledgeable partners as participants. Pitch with leading editors the possibility of post-launch interviews with the OCHA Head of Office and/or other OCHA experts in New York or Geneva. CAP and Flash Appeal summaries and media launch documentation should be disseminated immediately to all media who did not attend the launch, as well as to a selection of government, UN, NGO, academic and other representatives of the humanitarian community. Prepare an evaluation report of the media launch highlighting feedback and including press clippings of media coverage to APIS. E. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS See Annex F. Glossary of humanitarian terms 29
  30. 30. F. REFERENCES Normative or superior references UN, 2005, Spelling list, United Nations, New York. Related guidance OCHA, 2006, Guidelines for OCHA Advocacy, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York. OCHA, 2006, Guidelines for OCHA Field Information Management, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York. OCHA, 2006, OCHA Field Website Policy, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York. OCHA, 2006, Policy Instruction on OCHA Advocacy, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, New York. UNDP, 2002, Tools for Effective Communications in UNDP: Communications Training Manual, UN Development Programme, New York. UNHCR, ‘Relations with the Media’, Handbook for Emergencies, Second Edition, UN High Commission for Refugees, Geneva, pp 85-88. UNICEF, 2005, ‘Fund-raising and communication’, Emergency Field Handbook: A guide for UNICEF Staff, UN Children’s Fund, New York, pp 285-312. G. MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE APIS shall monitor implementation of this Handbook, including future revisions. H. DATES This Handbook shall be effective on [date of approval – consistent with date on cover page] and reviewed no later than [review date]. I. CONTACT The contact for this Handbook is the APIS PI focal point. J. HISTORY This Handbook was approved on [date of approval] and has not been amended. SIGNED: DATE: 30
  31. 31. ANNEX A. KEY PI CONTACTS AT HEADQUARTERS Advocacy and Public Information Section (APIS) – New York Fax: (212) 963-1040, (212) 963-9635 Name Title/area of focus Tel Email Room Ms. Nancee Oku Bright Section Chief Focal point for communications and public information; focal point for NGO relations 3-5713 bright@un.org DC1-1392 Ms. Stephanie Bunker Fax: (212) 963-1312 Humanitarian Affairs Officer Spokesperson Humanitarian advocacy, public information and media relations 7-5126 bunker@un.org S-3628A Ms. Kristen Knutson Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer Public information and media relations 7-9262 knutson@un.org S-3628A Mr. Christian Clark Humanitarian Affairs Officer Humanitarian advocacy, field focus 7-6005 clark1@un.org DC1-1390 Ms. Cynthia Scharf Humanitarian Affairs Officer Humanitarian advocacy, public information 7-2053 scharfc@un.org DC1-1386 Mr. Romain Kohn Humanitarian Affairs Officer, Public information, CERF 7-2449 kohnr@un.org DC1-1390 Ms. Nanci St. John Information Officer OCHA Online Manager 3-3855 st.john@un.org DC1-1388 Ms. Francesca Civili Associate Information Officer 7-2009 civilif@un.org DC1-1384 Ms. Rania Barrimo Fax: (212) 963-1312 Public Information Assistant OCHA News, news monitoring and information dissemination, administration 3-0345 barrimo@un.org S-3628C Ms. Assiati Chikuhwa Information Assistant 7-9635 chikuhwaa@un.o rg DC1-1393 Advocacy and External Relations Section (AERS) – Geneva Fax: (4122) 917-0020 Ms. Elizabeth Byrs Public Information Officer and Spokesperson 7-2653 byrs@un.org 14 Ms. Vanessa Huguenin Associate External Relations and Public Information Officer 7-1891 huguenin@un.org 146 31
  32. 32. ANNEX B. TEMPLATES AND SAMPLES Annex B1. Situation report Draft template of a monthly situation report 32
  33. 33. United Nations Nations Unies Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) HUMANITARIAN SITUATION REPORT No. XX (Field Office Location, Country) (MONTH ENDING: DAY/MONTH/YEAR) 1. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH IN BULLET FORM ONLY 2. Situational Analysis INCLUDING TRENDS IN THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION Security: Political: Humanitarian: 3. Key Sector Issues and Challenges Coordination and Common Services: Education and Training: Food Aid: Food Security and Livelihoods: Health: Mine Action: Nutrition: Protection: Shelter and NFI: Water and Environmental Services: 4. Action/Follow up IN-COUNTRY TIME PERIOD Head Office: Field Office: HEADQUARTERS TIME PERIOD AIMB: CRD: ESB: FSS: IDD: Operations/Security: PDSB: 33
  34. 34. 5. Media PLEASE PROVIDE ANY ISSUES THAT YOU FEEL SHOULD BE FOLLOWED UP Interviews: Press Statements: 6. INITIATIVES TAKEN 7. ANTICIPATED ACTIVITIES/EVENTS FOR THE COMING MONTH PREPARED BY: (Name) (Post Title) (Email) TEL: CELL: SAT: 34
  35. 35. ANNEX B. TEMPLATES AND SAMPLES Annex B2. Press release Sample/template/tips for a press release 35
  36. 36. United Nations Nations Unies Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) FIGHTING IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE JEOPARDIZES HUMANITARIAN AID (Headline: Catchy, attention-grabbing and accurate summary of news item) (City, country, dateline) (New York: 4 November 2004): An eruption of fighting around the Ivorian city of Bouaké, some 300 km north of Abidjan, threatens to cut thousands of people off from urgently needed humanitarian aid. (Lead: A one sentence explanation of what is most important about the situation.) Due to tensions across Côte d’Ivoire, UN humanitarian workers are suspending their activities throughout the country today. (Include OCHA/UN’s name near the top of the page, if possible in the first line.) “Côte d’Ivoire has been in a humanitarian crisis for two years. A prolonged suspension of aid programmes would endanger thousands of lives,” said Jan Egeland, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator. (Relevant quote from the most appropriate OCHA or UN authority on the problem/issue at hand increasing the chances of the press release being used by media.) OCHA’s office in Abidjan reports that the UN World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross have halted their operations in the Bouaké area. Further, the WFP has not been able to deliver aid to beneficiaries since the weekend because of roadblocks. There has been a sharp rise in the number of roadblocks near the “Zone de Confiance”, an area separating rebel and government forces, around Bouaké in the past week. (Place lead in context and present the who, what, when, where and why.) Since the crisis began two years ago, the humanitarian situation in northern Côte d’Ivoire---once the economic engine of West Africa---has been characterized by the prolonged absence of public administration and basic social services. Civilians in the North have been sinking further into poverty, having been cut of from the commercial activities and the social services of the South. Health care is a major concern in northern Côte d’Ivoire. An estimated 70% of the professional health workers that used to work in the North have yet to return to their posts. In one department/zone it was reported in May that there is only one doctor to address the needs of around 200,000 people. In the same zone it has been reported that four out of five water pumps in the rural areas are not functioning. Humanitarian organizations and donors will have to continue to support and encourage the Government to redeploy health professionals to the north. (Background on humanitarian situation, issues and what the UN is doing about it – mention the number and needs of the affected population.) UNICEF estimates that around 700,000 children have been out of school since the beginning of the crisis, some because there are no teachers to teach them, others because their families are displaced or have become too poor to send them to school. There are approximately 500,000 internally displaced persons in Côte d’Ivoire, the majority of whom are living with host families. Humanitarian operations in Côte d’Ivoire have suffered from poor funding. The UN’s 2004 Humanitarian Appeal for Côte d’Ivoire has received only 18% of the US$61 million required for emergency programmes. (If relevant, mention the level of CAP funding, specifying sectors that are poorly funded.) For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA- NY, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-NY, +1 917 367 9262; or Elizabeth Byrs, OCHA Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 472 4570. (Contact information for journalists: Name, office and mobile telephone number, email, title and office address.) 36

×