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Planning for the Media Onslaught

NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Dated: May-June 2001 Pages: 32,34,35
Amber Whittaker; James Onder
Date Published
May 2001
3 pages
This article discusses the types of access and decision criteria that police agencies apply to the media during an ongoing public safety situation.
This article briefly describes 11 types of special media access to a public safety incident. "Media perimeter" access involves provision of a special media staging area that is positioned closer to the incident than the public perimeter. In "unrestricted" access, the primary perimeter is removed and the media are free to go anywhere. "Guided" or "controlled" access involves specific instructions to the media about where they can stand or walk and how close they can come to particular items and areas. Access with "no photographing or videotaping" means the media have access to an incident but with no use of any type of camera. Access with "no live transmission" is designed to prevent perpetrators from viewing police actions during a hostage situation. "Pool" access involves the granting of access to designated representatives of the media under circumstances in which the number of media representatives must be limited. In "rotational pool" access during a long-term, ongoing incident, media organizations take turns acting as pool reporters and crew. "Sheriff's office videotape" access means that only law enforcement agency employees are allowed to tape events at the scene, and media are selectively given these tapes for their use. In "air space" access, media representatives can view the incident scene from the air. In "agency assistance" access, the media can use designated equipment provided by the law enforcement agency; and in "post-incident" access, the media is given access to information in a closed news conference in which information previously withheld from the media is disclosed. The article concludes with an outline of the criteria that should be applied in deciding what type of special access to give the media in a particular public safety incident so as not to interfere with law enforcement operations while ensuring that the public receives as much accurate information as is possible under the circumstances of the law enforcement operation.


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