Good Evening. First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lisa Bassett, and I am joined up here tonight by my teammates, Rufus Faulk, Kara Oberg, Lisa Timberlake and Stephanie Williams. The purpose of this presentation is to shed light on an innovative new course that we have created, based on a number of factors that we will discuss tonight, titled “Media and Disaster Planning.” Straightforward? Yes. Necessary? Definitely. Let’s move on….
Robert Olshansky, a professor of planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has written quite a bit on disaster planning, particularly in the context of Hurricane Katrina, and we felt that this quote really sums up our reasoning behind this course- by stressing the dire need for solid, tangible information about how to proceed with recovery and how to reach the community in the aftermath of a disaster event. We believe that the news media has the power to take pertinent information and disseminate it to members of the community and key decisionmakers.
In our research, we have found that there is a gap in coordination between the 2 disciplines of urban planning and the media We want to address this need- particularly in the context of disasters, so We took a look at Planetizen’s Top 10 planning programs, and found that no curriculum offers any course like this one Our course is geared towards Planning students, open to JO students This proposal presentation will begin with the course agenda, and then explain disasters, the two fields and how they relate to disasters, and conclude with the challenges, the need, and why Boston University stands to benefit from this course.
We have outlined 4 major themes in the course agenda: Disasters The meeting point of the fields of media and planning with community as the common link between the two News Media Relationship to community in disasters Planning Relationship to community in disasters Challenges Observing the relationship between the two fields
The study and understanding of disasters will begin our course. The complex nature of disasters will be stressed. So taking a step back, what is a disaster? Disasters can be instantaneous, foreseeable, and both man made, such as the BP oil spill, and/or “natural” such as such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But then theres the question is any disaster truly natural since if man wasn’t there, no loss of life or infrastructure devastation would take place. Stakeholders in disasters are far ranging; from local, regional, state and federal government, to private entities, to the individual community members, just to name a few. The field of disasters is one this is up and coming, but definitely one that needs much more focus. When political, social and economic conflict happens everyday, what makes a disaster, a disaster? In our proposed course students will be asked and ask all of these questions, they will learn the history of the field of disasters, the players in this field with a focus on the affected community. Introducing the students to disasters to begin the course will allow every student with the base disaster knowledge, while also providing excellent case studies of the potential and needed relationship for media and planners during disasters. While we best showcase their need for a positive relationship through disaster studies, since the challenges which planners and media face in a disaster situation are simply heightened challenges of everyday life, we encourage the students to foresee their relationship continuing post the disaster situation. http://webecoist.com/2008/10/30/30-devastating-land-water-fire-and-sky-disasters/
As I mentioned before there will be a special focus on the affected community and it is the community which is the common link between the media and the planners. Media and planners work both for and with the community. During a disasters situation their link to the community is intensified, the community needs more info faster and decision need to be made on a wider and quicker scale. By working together the right info can get to the public and the community faster. “The media-audience relationship is valuable because it works as a source of emotional support and in its ability to ‘create community’ during the crisis.” Maria Perez-Lugo When creating plans and facilitating recovery efforts, municipal planners must take the needs of the public into account. Just as the media has a relationship with the public, so does the planner and it is through forming a stronger relationship with the media that the planner-public relationship can be strengthened. Public buy-in is crucial in the field of planning and since the media has the ability to frame perceptions, planners need to use the media to connect with the community and attain this public buy-in. Community is the main link which intersects the fields of planning and media, and it is in a disaster situation which this connection is even more heightened and needed.
He continues: “I guess it helps to have the constitution behind you. When I discussed my ethical dilemmas with a journalism friend of mine, he blithely responded that he has no such problems. He “burns sources” all the time, unless he wants to use the source in the future.”
In this course…
Up until this point, we have discussed the course agenda, disasters, and the media. Next on the course agenda, we will discuss the role that planning plays in post-disaster response, and its relationship with media. As previously mentioned, taking time to plan in the wake of a disaster is very difficult. Planning needs time for participants to acquire and comprehend information, build trust, consider alternatives, and feel confidence in the recovery efforts.
Although planning has been expert-driven for much of its history, participatory planning has become popular in recent decades. By including as many players as possible in public process, the outcome, whether it is what had originally been planned for or something new, is inherently unique to the community being planned for. Other justifications for participatory planning include creating social change, strengthening social capital, and establishing governance required to manage the commons. This course will emphasize the need for community buy-in as it pertains to disaster planning and recovery, as the role of the constituent is fundamentally important to the participatory planning process, particularly at the local level.
In proposing a course such as this, our group recognizes that to date there are certain challenges that have prohibited, andmany times hindered the potential for a media/planner partnership According to Lauren Pollock of FEMA: “ During Hurricane Katrina, FEMA employees were directed to have limited contact with the media; some of the staff were silenced, and some of the evacuees were censored...” Ms. Pollock demonstrates an example of the mistrust between the media and planners. Some of the challenges in the media/planner relationship are a result of miscommunication and lack of education between two fields. The media plays an important role in disaster management. Media can be very versatile, and has many outlets to disseminate information quickly to the public before, during and after a disaster. As Kara Oberg mentioned, disasters link planners and the media. This speaks to the importance of our proposed course. Part of the course agenda will address the barriers in the media/planner relationship, as well as some of the negative perceptions of the media that have unfortunately helped to create these barriers. One of the events that contributed to the negative perceptions of the media, and the lack of trust the public had in the media, was the coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
At the completion of our proposed course, students are expected to leave with skills and knowledge in four main areas: 1. Understanding the basics of disasters (including theory) and the role media has historically played in disasters. Describing the various roles the media plays in disasters, and how this can be incorporated into the disaster planning process, while providing a link to the community. Allowing students the ability to contribute a new perspective and outlook on disasters. Recognizing the vital role open communication plays amongst media and planners, especially in times of disasters.
This course proposal seeks to explore the roles of the planner and the media as a medium of information while examining the potential ways these roles overlap or intersect in the wake of a disaster. Government, community organizations and media involvement in disasters clearly shows a need for these professionals to work in unison. Planners must be able to work closely with member of the media during a time of crisis and be able to identify specific themes to produce an effective and creative way to convey its information by way of the media. We believe this course will provide future planners (students) with the necessary tools needed to best reach the community they both work for. Ivy Frances of FEMA recommends: • Planners need to form a relationship with the media • Planners should utilize the media as much as possible and Lauren Pollick, also of FEMA, said that FEMA has adopted a new media stance which includes media relations training that has created a better relationship with the media
Planners and the media must realize the commonalities within their respective fields. Both are first responders when a disaster strikes Planners and the media act as facilitators within their respective craft They both act as mediators during a time of disaster Having said that the need for the two fields to work in conjunction with one another becomes clear, in everyday terms as well as in specific crisis situations. We believe this course would be beneficial to Boston University, Masters of Urban affairs Program because no other school is currently offering such a program. This course would complement other existing courses while also producing more media savvy planners.
Lisa Bassett, Rufus Faulk, Kara Oberg, Lisa Timberlake, Stephanie Williams Making Media Savvy Planners Course Proposal: Media and Disaster Planning Lisa Bassett, Rufus Faulk, Kara Oberg, Lisa Timberlake, Stephanie Williams
<ul><li>“ In larger disasters, no one – individuals or agencies – has enough information to make decisions, and information is essential to understanding the situation of the whole community – who and what has been impacted, what resources are available and still needed, and what the future holds." </li></ul><ul><li>-Robert Olshansky </li></ul>
Course Agenda Disasters The meeting point of the fields of media and planning with community as the common link between the two News Media Relationship to community in disasters Planners Relationship to community in disasters Challenges Observing the current relationship between the two fields
Planning <ul><li>Seeks buy-in from communities </li></ul><ul><li>Public-private partnerships with consulting firms </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys, charrettes, evening visioning sessions/community meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Advent of social media facilitates this process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter/Facebook </li></ul></ul>Contemporary Planning is a Participatory Process
Challenges <ul><li>Challenges in Media/Planner Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Mistrust </li></ul><ul><li>Negative perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of media relations education </li></ul>
Class Objectives PROPOSED CLASS OBJECTIVES UNDERSTAND DESCRIBE CONTRIBUTE RECOGNIZE
The Need <ul><li>Ivy Frances of FEMA recommends: </li></ul><ul><li>Planners need to form a relationship with the media </li></ul><ul><li>Planners should utilize the media as much as possible </li></ul>
The Need The Common Ground First Responders Facilitators Mediators