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WORKING THE MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS PLANS THAT WORK BRAM ALEXANDER Working the Media Employ the KISS principle Keep It Simple Stupid! Basic principles achieve results - regardless of the size or complexity of the situation or problem Working the Media The basics:

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working the media

WORKING THE MEDIA

COMMUNICATIONS PLANS THAT WORK

BRAM ALEXANDER

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Working the Media
  • Employ the KISS principle
  • Keep It Simple Stupid!
  • Basic principles achieve results - regardless of the size or complexity of the situation or problem
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Working the Media

The basics:

  • Get the decision making process right
  • Stick to the key messages
  • Use the same spokesperson – preferably one the community knows and trusts which helps build credibility for your messages
  • Be available for regular updates – but only when there is new information
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Working the Media

What is the right level of panic?

  • The media has a legitimate interest in obtaining accurate, up-to-date information
  • This interest can be legitimately channelled into a useful tool and provide a link between government, emergency management and public health teams and the public
  • If these channels to information are blocked, rumour, misinformation and the bush telegraph can lead to unwanted results
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Working the Media

Crisis? What crisis?

  • Go early, be proactive
  • By putting the size of the problem and the actual risks into perspective can take the heat out of a situation
  • If the media thinks you are being forthright and honest, this is often reflected in their reporting
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Working the Media

Crisis? What crisis?

Getting bad news out is better than the slow drip, drip, drip of daily revelations that keep a story continually in the public eye for the wrong reasons

This can take the focus off the key messages

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Working the Media

Golden campaign rules

  • Put the community’s interests first
  • Act decisively – honestly
  • Own up or apologise for the problem
  • Fix the problem if there is one
  • Be up front with the facts - tell it all – tell it fast - and stay ahead of the game
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Working the Media

Nuts and bolts questions

  • Get the decision making process right
  • Accurate briefings for spokespeople
  • Target the most effective media – radio – first! TV is slower and print a dinosaur
  • Prepare fact sheets in advance eg., signs and symptoms – how do I make myself safe at home etc
  • These can be tweaked and loaded onto websites/printed at any time
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Working the Media

More nuts and bolts questions

  • What if the power goes out?
  • Can material be stored off-site in a regional HQ
  • When do you activate the 1800 call-centre?
  • Along the way - reviewing protocols and procedures does not imply a shortcoming, but it is a prudent way of ensuring planning for the unknown is up to date and current.
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Working the Media

Stuffing up – but moving on

  • Melbourne Aquarium Thursday, April 27, 2000
  • Chief Health Officer – retiring next day
  • Successor abroad
  • New deputy CHO stepped in
  • Friday, April 28 – deputy CHO interstate
  • Head, communicable diseases – thrown to the wolves - face and voice of outbreak for the DURATION!
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Working the Media

Coming challenges

  • The 2006 Commonwealth Games means we have to account for an exaggeration of the normal problems when large groups gather.
  • Ensure food safety, maintenance of cooling towers, surveillance of infectious diseases through hospital emergency departments when a lot of o/seas visitors are present and can introduce new strains of flu etc
  • Learn from Sydney’s 2000 Olympic Games success
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Working the Media

What lurks unseen around the corner?

Bio-terrorism in the form of a mass casualty event seems to be a focus of much of our efforts

Statistically, we are due for a flu pandemic and the latest revelations about Avian flu mutating are chilling

A pandemic would be the ultimate test of our resilience and media skills

Don’t panic would be empty rhetoric