Media Centre operations - SWISSAIR 111


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The creation and operation of the international media centre for recovery operations of SWISSAIR 111, which crashed in St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia, 2 Sep 1998.

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Media Centre operations - SWISSAIR 111

  1. 1. SWISSAIR 111
  3. 3. 2-3 SEPTEMBER 1998 22h30: SWISSAIR III crashes in St. Margaret s Bay, Margaret’s Bay Nova Scotia Scotia. Joint Rescue Coordination Centre begins the search for survivors & Navy Public Affairs opens media lines at midnight. 0700 hrs: Second shift takes over, augmented by Navy civilian personnel personnel. 1500 hrs: Search ended-Royal Canadian Mounted Police take charge.
  4. 4. COORDINATING DETAILS Large whiteboard for media response. 1 person gathers info and records it. peop e answer ed a calls (record Q&A). 2 people a s e media ca s ( eco d Q& ) 1 administration assistant. 1 “runner”. g “Working meals.” 1 Public Affairs Officer at Peggy’s Cove.
  5. 5. WHAT MEDIA WANTS To be first with the story To make the story as dramatic as possible To be perceived as professional To protect their independence To protect society’s right to know & freedom of the press
  6. 6. 3 SEP NEWS CONFERENCE News conference at H Div-RCMP Halifax to announce search ended and criminal investigation opens. opens Search ends and recovery ops begin. Media advised that media centre will open the following morning.
  7. 7. WTCC HALIFAX 1800-2100 HRS RCMP & Transportation Safety Board request help to establish media centre centre. World Trade Convention Centre & Metro Centre is media centre. 30 media stations with curtains, work table curtains and 3 phone drops each. Media t ti M di stations grow to more than 100 with t th ith 300 reporters and 5 satellite trucks at Metro C t M t Centre.
  9. 9. 4 SEPTEMBER Temporary morgue at Shearwater Shearwater. Video link with WTCC and CNS rep assigned to assist Provincial Examiner. RCMP ask CNS to manage media centre & CNS requests RCMP & DND to co-manage the centre. Navy Public Affairs brings in reserve augmentees f t from M t l & Ott Montreal Ottawa.
  10. 10. DAILY AGENDA 06h30: Open to support early deadlines. 10h00: News conference - overnight update. 14h00: Specialized news updates. updates 15h00: News conference – Medical Examiner. 18h00: Interagency news conference. 23h30: Close
  11. 11. SWISSAIR RESPONSE Carried all immediate family to Halifax. Rented Lord Nelson Hotel for families. Retained Venture Communications. Installed Venture Communications in the World Trade Convention Centre. Technical expert available to investigators.
  12. 12. MEDIA CENTRE OPERATIONS • • • • • • • • Conflict between NBC & ABC. Reporters turned communications officers officers. Media pools. Swissair president at commemoration. PM at Indian Harbour commemoration. Pandering to the media. Complaints from local journalists. Need to constantly “feed” the media.
  13. 13. OPERATION AFTERMATH NBC appreciation. i ti Complaints from Ottawa about costs. p The farther people come, the more credit they claim (“Success has many dit th l i (“S h fathers, but failure is an orphan.”)
  14. 14. SHOULD MEDIA COVER SITUATIONS? Provide information to the public Avoid complicating issue for operational officials Maintain basic right to be informed Respect privacy of victims’ families & dignity f i ti di it of victims.
  15. 15. RECOMMENDATION #1 Crisis planners: develop your comprehensive communications strategy & exercise it regularly.
  16. 16. RECOMMENDATION #2 Train your crisis team to be experienced and professional communicators … … or employ professionals, who can be onsite quickly and take charge of news media and implement groundrules. Have others ready to assume specific responsibilities when crisis team is called out.
  17. 17. RECOMMENDATION #3 Prepare list of communications professionals with effective experience in crisis communications. communications
  18. 18. PUBLIC AFFAIRS SKILLSET Media operations Media escort Media registration Media briefing News conferencing News analysis Photography g p y Videography News writing (print, radio & TV) Proof reading & editing Media relations Media & stakeholder mediation Proof reading & editing Speech writing Message development Spokesperson Media consultant Communications planning Crisis communications Ground rules: Development Enforcement Issues management Reputation management Media opp management
  19. 19. RECOMMENDATION #4 Stand-by crisis communications team leader immediately prepare a crisis emergency communications and callout plan … … and rehearse it frequently.
  20. 20. RECOMMENDATION #5 When crisis action team is called out , they th must be released from tb l df responsibilities of the normal workplace (“matrix (“ t i responsibilities”) ibiliti ”)
  21. 21. RECOMMENDATION #6 Employ media relations personnel who have a recognized ability to work effectively and decisively with news media.
  22. 22. RECOMMENDATION #7 Work with media to provide coverage that is: Fair Balanced Objective Reflects the situation in its proper context
  23. 23. RECOMMENDATION #8 Be prepared to establish a media/press information centre, or integrate into the principal media centre.
  24. 24. RECOMMENDATION #9 Implement a system of advance news media accreditation to pre-authorize qualified journalists to be admitted to the media centre
  26. 26. RECOMMENDATION #10 Identify equipment to be used for the incident, to include: Notebook computers Internet capability Office suite program Email program Presentation software Photo software Digital camera Digital memory media Portable colour printer Extra ink cartridges Mouse Mouse pad Mobile &/or satellite phones Vehicles Audio distribution box Stationery Business card stock Pens Paper & photo paper Notebooks Mini MP3 audio recorders Batteries Flash drives CD RWs & DVDs Phone lists Reasonable funding Cash Wireless modem Television with cable for news Translation services (if necessary)
  27. 27. “PORTABLE FLY-AWAY KITS” Laptop computers Internet capability Office suite programs Presentation software Photo ft Ph t software Digital camera p Portable colour printer Extra ink cartridges Mouse Mouse pad Mobile &/or satellite phones Wireless modem Audio di t ib ti b A di distribution box Stationary Business card stock Pens Paper & photo paper Notebooks N t b k Mini tape recorders p Additional tapes Batteries CD ROMs & DVDs Phone lists Reasonable funding Television (for news)
  28. 28. RECOMMENDATION #11 Develop a list of effective and agreed media groundrules for coverage of events.
  29. 29. RECOMMENDATION #12 Build a regime of cooperation with media, emergency services, and governmental principals to demonstrate that the communications community is an essential asset in meeting the public information demands of a crisis or emergency event.
  30. 30. RECOMMENDATION #13 Provide a communications/media liaison person(s) for families of victims li i ( ) f f ili f i ti to “run interference” with newsmedia and speak on b h lf of family members d k behalf f f il b
  31. 31. LESSONS LEARNED Have an experienced person establish and manage the media centre. centre Accredited media are more easily accommodated. accommodated Use a skilled moderator for news conferences. Employ only those who can do the job. Work professionally with media. p y Continuing need to collect “Lessons Learned.”
  32. 32. Tim Dunne, CD,, MA Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B2Y 4H4 E-mail: