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EPR-Public Communications L-012. Media Relationships. Objective. An overview of how various media work and how to identify key media; Establishing and maintaining working relationships with the media. Outline. Overview; Key media for radiation emergencies; Establishing relationships.

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Media relationships

EPR-Public CommunicationsL-012

Media Relationships


  • An overview of how various media work and how to identify key media;

  • Establishing and maintaining working relationships with the media.


  • Overview;

  • Key media for radiation emergencies;

  • Establishing relationships.


  • Mass media can be a useful channel to communicate emergency related information;

  • Media do not just transmit information; they determine what will be reported according to their agenda;

  • Media act as the voice of the public—raising concerns in the public interest;

  • In the initial stages of the emergency, media tend to report factually with information provided;

  • At some point, however, usually once the urgent phase has passed, media will begin to question why the situation occurred and who may have been responsible;

  • They may also criticize the response itself, if there are any delays with providing information or action to protect the public.

Overview continued
Overview – Continued

  • Mass media:

    • Print media—daily and weekly newspapers, specialty publications, and magazines;

    • Electronic media—radio, television, Internet;

    • Newswire services.

  • The news cycle:

    • Increasingly 24/7 for all media types;

    • Most major daily newspapers have online editions that are updated regularly.

  • New media—blogs, social networking sites, Twitter, etc.

Overview continued1
Overview – Continued

  • Characteristics to consider:

    • Print Media

      • More details and analysis reported;

      • Historical information;

      • Editorial opinion;

      • More time for research;

      • In depth features (magazines and specialty reporters).

    • Electronic media:

      • Immediacy;

      • Short reports;

      • Visually driven;

      • Constant updates—especially radio and cable TV (national and international);

      • Live interviews .

Overview continued2
Overview – Continued

  • The more significant the event, the more constant the news coverage;

  • During an emergency, media will fill a vacuum with whatever information they can get from any source, regardless of credibility;

  • Response organizations must inform media as soon as possible what their role is in an emergency, even if information about the situation is incomplete;

  • Must offer regular updates to meet the demands of the “news cycle”, even if there are no new developments.

Key media for radiation emergencies
Key media for radiation emergencies

  • Identifying key media should be part of planning in preparation for a radiation emergency;

  • Consider likely emergency scenarios, based on where radiation is used:

    • Nuclear power plant;

    • Medical use (teletherapy or sealed sources);

    • Industrial use (construction, irradiation facilities, milling, etc);

    • Transboundary release.

  • Consider the likely affected audience and also the “reach” of the media available.

Key media for radiation emergencies1
Key media for radiation emergencies

  • Special relationships with the media—include them into emergency planning;

  • Determine the audiences of particular media and their preferences—plan to use the most effective outlets during an emergency;

  • Be aware of the impact of social networking tools—particularly for issuing warnings;

  • Be prepared for different demands and interests of local, regional, national and international media;

Establishing relationships
Establishing relationships

  • Media will turn to those organizations that they know and trust;

  • Important to have well established relationships with media in advance;

  • Make sure you have their contact information and they have yours;

  • Establish priorities for those media that will be the most effective during an emergency.

Establishing relationships1
Establishing relationships

  • Proactive media relations:

    • Meet with reporters or editors;

    • Include in emergency exercises;

    • Pitch stories;

    • Periodic updates about your organization or activities;

    • Effective spokespersons.

  • Listserv where media can get new information on topics they are interested in.

Establishing relationships2
Establishing relationships

  • High turnover in media;

  • New media –blogs;

  • Interest groups;

  • Social networking sites.

Establishing relationships3
Establishing relationships

  • Maintain these relationships in an emergency by planning for media needs:

    • Broadcast quality footage;

    • Print quality photos;

    • Maps and technical illustrations;

    • Quick facts for media;

    • Contact lists and out-of-hours numbers.

Media monitoring
Media monitoring

  • PIOs should be aware of what other sources are saying about the emergency:

    • These sources may have valuable information that may be fed back into to the response organization;

    • They may be reporting inaccurately;

    • Response organizations needs to avoid creating a credibility gap, where other sources are providing new information.

Media monitoring1
Media monitoring

  • Analyze media coverage for trends and perspective on the emergency as it unfolds;

  • Media analysis can also be used to evaluate public communications activities as part of a lessons learned review.


  • Identify media who will be most important to the emergency response;

  • Establish positive relations with the media through proactive media relations;

  • Cultivate effective spokespersons who are knowledgeable and trained in risk communications principles.


  • Develop plans and arrangements to monitor media and analyze reporting trends during an emergency.