MSRC hears reports on efforts to prepare media for terror attack

The Media Security and Reliability Council met Nov. 16 at FCC headquarters to discuss ongoing efforts to prepare TV and radio stations, cable system operators and satellite providers to respond to the public’s need for emergency information in the event of a new terror strike.

Chaired by David Barrett, president and CEO of Hearst-Argyle Television, the MSRC meeting focused on working group reports on local coordination of media emergency preparedness efforts and on an informational toolkit to help engineers prepare their stations for disaster.

RTNDA President Barbara Cochran also addressed the MSRC gathering to report on local terror response workshops the news organization is co-sponsoring with the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Homeland Security.

To date, day-long seminars have been held in Chicago; Kansas City, MO; Portland, OR; and Philadelphia, bringing together media professionals, public information officers from emergency agencies, scientists, and police and firefighters.

The goal of the events is to open a dialogue between the media and emergency agency public information personnel as well as to inform participants on the science behind specific terror threats. Six more seminars are planned.

At the MSRC meeting, Bob Ross, of the toolkit working group, discussed efforts to prepare a detailed checklist chief engineers can use to evaluate a station’s level of preparedness and identify problem areas.

The checklist will consist of items such as the availability of back-up power for newsroom operation, identification of fuel sources with their own back-up power source to pump fuel for ENG vehicles, and the availability of non-perishable food and water.

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