Washington, DC--More than two years after September 11, many newsrooms still don't have a crisis plan to follow in the event of another terrorist attack, and many communities have emergency plans that overlook the crucial role of the media in responding to a disaster.
To address these needs, the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF) will produce 10 workshops across the country during the next year. The goal is to examine communication in a time of crisis--what works and what needs work--as well as to provide background on potential terrorist threats and guidance on how journalists and public information officers can better prepare for what might happen next.
The workshop series, "News and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis," will feature a scenario exercise, tailored for each session, in which a small group of journalists, government officials, and experts react to a simulated terrorist incident--chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear. The day-long program also will include useful scientific information, self-protection advice, and disaster planning. RTNDF will draw on the resources of the National Academies and the Department of Homeland Security to develop the program.
Each workshop will involve about 100 participants, including journalists and news managers in radio, television, cable and print; public information officers; science and public health experts; emergency managers; and other officials. Participants will gain knowledge, resources, and contacts that will prove invaluable should their communities be attacked.
"In a crisis, the public turns to the news media for accurate information that can be a matter of life or death," said Barbara Cochran, president of RTNDF and the Radio-Television News Directors Association. "It is essential to train journalists to cover such events and to foster an understanding among public agencies of the role the news media play in crisis communications. Training and a good flow of communication can prevent a crisis from turning into a catastrophe."
The program will kick off in Chicago on July 22, 2004. Additional workshops will take place in Portland, OR (August 2004), Kansas City (September 2004), the Philadelphia area (October 2004), Miami (December 2004), Austin (January 2005), Atlanta (March 2005), San Francisco (April 2005), Denver (June 2005), and Boston (July 2005). Dates and locations are subject to change.
Radio and Television News Directors Foundation
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