Crisis Training

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Crisis Training

  1. 1. Working with the Media in a Campus Emergency Don Hendricks, Director University Communications www.news.missouristate.edu 6-6397
  2. 2. Guidelines <ul><li>This guide is intended to offer suggestions about how to work with media should an emergency or moderate crisis situation arise on campus. </li></ul><ul><li>These situations may require a faculty member, department head, dean or other university administrator to serve in the role of university spokesperson. </li></ul><ul><li>A major crisis might involve vice presidents, police, fire department or campus security personnel. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Things to Remember <ul><li>Crises can be opportunities as well as problems. </li></ul><ul><li>They can prompt us to improve programs and procedures and inform others about what we are doing right. </li></ul><ul><li>By responding in an assertive and forthright manner, the crisis situation can provide an opportunity to build credibility with the media and with key publics. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Things to Remember <ul><li>Prompt action reduces “collateral damage,” reduces the length of the emergency and moves the situation toward resolution. </li></ul><ul><li>All crises are different . There is no realistic way of preparing a fixed set of rules or responses that will apply to every situation. Keep in mind that you are the expert; this is why the media is talking to you. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Things to Remember <ul><li>Be straightforward and honest but do not offer conclusions while the investigation is underway. A “bunker mentality” won’t make the problem or the media go away. </li></ul><ul><li>Whenever possible, consult with emergency authorities, safety and transportation, university relations, university communications or Missouri State legal counsel before talking with media. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Procedures <ul><li>When an emergency or crisis situation arises, stabilize the situation, then: </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Safety and Transportation, 836-4441 </li></ul><ul><li>Notify Paul Kincaid, 836-5139 or University Communications, 836-6397 </li></ul><ul><li>Gather information. Get the facts straight. Everything else is speculation. Your task is to ascertain what is known and not guess about what may have happened </li></ul>
  7. 7. Procedures <ul><li>Select a spokesperson who is in charge and/or most knowledgeable about the incident </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipate questions that may be asked and prepare a response/talking points </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that the reporter is a conduit: speak to the public, not the reporter </li></ul>
  8. 8. Procedures <ul><li>If the media is on-site, try to address them collectively with a prepared statement and answer questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Retain control of the situation; do not allow the media to dictate when and how you will deal with them. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Do <ul><li>Have a central message and stick to it. Repeat, repeat, repeat. </li></ul><ul><li>State important facts first. </li></ul><ul><li>Correct the reporter if his/her information is wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>Answer only the questions asked and do so as succinctly and clearly as possible. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Do <ul><li>Remember that you do not have to know everything. It’s okay to say “I will find out the answer and get back to you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Share the credit with other departments/agencies, including your staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Only give out facts that have been confirmed. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid jargon or professional expressions. </li></ul><ul><li>Be proactive. If you acquire new information about the crisis later, let university officials and interested reporters know. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Don’t <ul><li>Say “No Comment.” Ever. </li></ul><ul><li>Over-reach or speculate. </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer information unless it is a point you and the university want to make and the question hasn’t been asked. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk off the record. </li></ul><ul><li>Become defensive or emotional. </li></ul><ul><li>Argue with a reporter. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Don’t <ul><li>Assume that tough questions are personal. </li></ul><ul><li>Answer more than the question itself. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to “A or B” scenarios. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to “what if” questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak for someone else – avoid the absent-party trap. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Interview Tips <ul><li>It’s okay to be nervous. </li></ul><ul><li>You’re an expert – the reporter thinks you are or he/she wouldn’t bother interviewing you. </li></ul><ul><li>Be yourself but be professional. </li></ul><ul><li>Know what you want to communicate. Plan to make your points accordingly. Have the facts to back-up your comments. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Interview Tips <ul><li>Never lie to or mislead a reporter. </li></ul><ul><li>Offer your conclusion first, briefly and directly. Back it with facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak as you would to your neighbor, not a colleague. Avoid jargon, acronyms. </li></ul><ul><li>Be realistic, positive. </li></ul><ul><li>Speak plainly. Short answers are better than long; use full sentences. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Interview Tips <ul><li>Be honest, responsive, factual. Don’t talk too much. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t accept a reporter’s facts and figures as true; don’t respond to a hypothetical situation; respond to negative leading questions with positive statements. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep cool. Don’t allow yourself to be provoked. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no formal beginning or end to an interview. Everything within earshot to a reporter is fair game. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Interview Tips <ul><li>Remember when talking to a reporter there’s no such thing as “off the record.” </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to state all your positive points completely in response to the first question asked. </li></ul><ul><li>State matter-of-factly when you can release information and why. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t know the answers, say so, and offer to find out. </li></ul><ul><li>Feel free to answer any part of a long question. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Questions?

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