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Media Relations: Managing Your Response at a Critical Incident

NCJ Number
Campus Law Enforcement Journal Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2003 Pages: 30-32
Howard Curry
Date Published
May 2003
3 pages
This article provides guidelines for campus police in responding to the news media at the scene of a critical incident on campus.
In discussing the immediate responsibilities of the first responder, the article advises that one of the most important tasks is to secure the scene while rendering aid to those injured and identifying witnesses and suspects, as well as assessing resources. Once the scene is stabilized, the first responder must stage members of the media, which allows for easier accounting of the persons at the scene. It should be made clear to the media that information will be given to the media at the staging area, which should provide reasonable access for the media to the incident scene while allowing law enforcement and other first responders to perform their duties. A discussion of the causes of conflict between law enforcement and members of the media focuses on the differing and sometimes conflicting goals of the media and law enforcement at an incident scene. Often a clear statement by authorities as to what information will be released, where, and when will reduce conflict. The scheduling of meetings with the media should respect the deadlines under which media personnel work. This article also discusses the benefits of maintaining positive relationships with members of the media; the specific needs of television, print, and radio media; constraints on the public release of information; methods of effectively managing the release of information to the media during a live broadcast; and tips for giving on-scene interviews. 1 reference