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Role of the CAP Information Officer


Copies of all press releases, interviews, etc., and the agencies they were given ... Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) supply info to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Role of the CAP Information Officer

Role of the CAP Information Officer
  • Developed as part of the National Emergency
    Services Curriculum Project

  • Information officers normally have vast knowledge
    and experience in CAP and ICS training before
    serving in that position
  • ICS training through the 400 level before
    operating on missions is required
  • Though not required, information officers should
    preferably have experience as operators in other
    mission positions prior to being assigned so that
    they can speak knowledgeably about our operations

Mission Information Officer
  • The IO coordinates release of all information
    through the mission coordinator. The IO will
    handle questions and requests with a courteous
    and professional attitude in order to maintain a
    positive impression of the Civil Air Patrols

Duties and Responsibilities
  • Check in at the mission base wearing the
    appropriate uniform and presenting current
    documents as required on the Reporting-In
    Procedures list.
  • Report to the IC for a briefing on mission
    details that may be released to the media.
  • Set up a desk with a telephone, typewriter or
    computer, and unpack the mission kit.
  • Prepare an initial news release that contains
    information provided by the IC at the start of
    the mission. These stories should not contain
    opinions about anything or anyone associated with
    the mission.

Duties and Responsibilities Cont.
  • Prepare midday, interim, and end-of-day press
    releases for the media and obtain the ICs
    approval. Copies of all press releases,
    interviews, etc., and the agencies they were
    given to, will be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to
    the wing director of public affairs. The news
    releases should also be posted to your unit/wing
  • Wrap-up days activities with leads, notes,
    interviews, statistics and details. It will be
    given out at the end of the day or the next
    morning, and can serve as an aid to the next IO
    who may be serving on the same mission.
  • Answer media questions as fully and accurately as
    possible under the mission security conditions.

Duties and Responsibilities Cont.
  • Verify credentials and completed CAPF 9 releases
    for media representatives that may want to
    accompany flight crews or ground teams on
    sorties. They must be approved by IC.
  • Cooperate with media personnel, but ensure they
    do not impede or interfere with the conduct of
    the mission.
  • Complete required forms and paperwork for the IC
    prior to leaving the mission base.
  • Monitor newscasts and contact the media to
    correct any reporting errors.

Duties and Responsibilities Cont.
  • Direct and monitor the release of information and
    photographs to newspapers, wire services, radio,
    and television media representatives.
  • Assist family members of those who are the
    subject of the search-and-rescue mission. In
    these situations, the IO will keep the visitors
    from impeding with the operations of the mission.

Task Specific Training
  • Keep a log
  • Prepare initial and follow-up news releases
  • Coordinate news media visits
  • Basic Communications User Training
  • Basic Communications Procedures for Emergency
    Services Operations

Keep a Log
  • Mission logs are critical to documenting the
    activities of all mission personnel
  • Use the ICS Form 214 or something similar
  • Document the personnel assignments for the
  • Document major activities and happenings within
    your unit/section/office
  • Be sure to turn in your logs when demobilizing

ICS Form 214 Unit Log May be used to keep a log
of your activities.
Three basic principles of working with the media
  • Start with the right mindset think of the media
    as an ally not an adversary
  • Treat all news media equally and honestly
  • Release the same information at the same time to
    everyone provide equal access
  • The only exception to this is when a reporter
    calls on their own initiative for a story
  • Remember that reporters are extremely pressed for
    time if you approach them in an intelligent,
    concise manner they will most likely respond

Targeting Your Audience
  • Messages must be focused to be effective
  • Our country is made up of many cultures of
    varying ages and interests
  • Speak to them differently in a language they
    will understand
  • Selecting target audiences doesnt have to be as
    difficult as it might sound

Selecting a Target Audience
  • Analyze the community and determine the problems
    that need to be addressed
  • Determine the groups that can help alleviate the
    problems they are your target audience
  • Find out what newspapers your target audiences
    read, what radio stations they listen to, and
    what television station they watch those are
    the media outlets you need to work with
  • Determine the appropriate time and method to
    deliver your messages and deliver them

Understanding the Media
  • To deliver your message appropriately you need to
    know the requirements varying media organizations
  • Wire Services
  • Print Media
  • Television Media
  • Radio Services
  • On-Line News Service

Wire Services
  • Associated Press (AP) and United Press
    International (UPI) supply info to virtually all
    broadcast and news media operations in the US if
    not the world
  • Deadlines are continuous make sure your
    information is up to date
  • AP and UPI have offices in most major cities
    find out which ones service your area
  • They have few field reporters messages are
    often posted or coordinated with a news editor
    and they often prefer fax, e-mail, or phone

Wire Services Continued
  • If you have a major event planned in advance like
    an exercise get it listed on the Daybook, a
    calendar of major events normally kept by news
  • Dont forget to target local city news services
    in the local areas stories of local interest
    have a better chance of being run because the
    subscribers may be interested

Print Media
  • Need highly detailed information and prefer
    several verifiable sources
  • Local stories that relate to national news are
    more likely to be run especially those of human
  • City editors normally decide what stories
    reporters and photographers will cover, but the
    Features editor might be more willing to cover
    ongoing or sustained missions

Print Media Continued
  • Deadlines vary
  • Morning newspapers are normally due in late
    afternoon or early evening
  • Afternoon newspaper are normally due in early
    morning on the same day
  • Weekly papers have one designated deadline per
  • Magazines often have deadlines six to eight
    months prior to publication, but will often make
    room (within reason) if your story is related to
    current world events

Television Media
  • Reporters want to be where the action is
  • Television news needs two key elements
  • Strong Visuals
  • Demonstrations are good attractions
  • Make sure the staff is in appropriate uniforms
  • Sound bites
  • Equivalent to quotes
  • Try to keep them to 30 seconds or less

Television Media Continued
  • Reporters usually have several stories in one day
    with a mid-afternoon deadline to make the evening
  • Sometimes you will deal with a team of reporters
    and photographers other times a one man band of
    sorts that requires follow-up or assistance be
    patient and try to meet their needs as best you

Television Media Continued
  • The FCC requires Television stations to produce
    local public affairs programs once a week a
    great opportunity to pitch local messages of
    interest like ours
  • If you want a copy of your story youre better
    off taping it yourself most stations charge a
    fee for duplication services

Radio Services
  • The often forgotten medium but still effective
  • Often immediate delivery news every hour, with
    breaking news as it develops
  • Need current concise information with short sound
    bites the small or single-person staff will
    appreciate it
  • Radio stations often produce one or more weekly
    public affairs programs like television stations
    as required by the FCC dont forget to get them
    your stories

Online News Services
  • Often traditional services offer additional news
    stories online in addition to their regular
    publications or broadcasts
  • May need varied length articles
  • Often want pictures, video or interviews in
    addition to text articles
  • Deadlines can be as often as every half hour

How do I find the media outlets in my area?
  • Yellow pages listings
  • Media Directories
  • Bacons Publicity Checker
  • Ayers Directory of Publications
  • Editors and Publishers Yearbook
  • Broadcasting Yearbook
  • All In One Directory
  • Once your list is complete keep it up to date

Prepare and coordinate press releases
  • Coordinate your release with the IC
  • Prepare an accurate and effective news release
  • Provide releasable information about what CAP and
    other agencies have done, are currently doing,
    and what is planned for the future
  • Try to answer common media questions
  • Tell them about CAP
  • Answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how
    of the incident
  • Follow the recommended format

Recommended Format for Press Releases
  • Print it on 8 ½ x 11 paper with 1 margins
  • The name and address of the appropriate offices
    should be printed at the top of the page
  • Type and double space the release
  • Put the name and phone number of the best person
    to contact for more information in the upper
    right hand corner

Recommended Format for Press Releases Continued
  • On the top left side of the first page, type FOR
  • Develop a headline that captures the gist of the
  • Keep it as short as possible
  • Incorporate powerful words
  • Start your release with a dateline, the city from
    which the story originates, followed immediately
    by the first paragraph

Recommended Format for Press Releases Continued
  • Include quotes from the appropriate staff
    member(s), and make sure that the person approves
    the quote before you distribute the release
  • Try to keep the release to one page.
  • If you need to go to more than one page center
    and type - more - at the bottom of the page
  • Type and center it below the last line to
    indicate the end of the release
  • If the media wants pictures, find out what they
    are looking for, and try to provide it

Distributing Press Releases
  • Most media outlets accept press releases via
    mail, fax, e-mail, or even hand-delivered find
    out the preference of your chosen targets and
    work it
  • Generally media outlets want press releases for
    scheduled events approximately one week in
    advance to promote them
  • Releases for last minute happenings should be
    posted as soon as is reasonably possible

News Media Visits
  • Determine the audience to reach and the message
    you want to convey and develop a media
    tour/visit that achieves your goals
  • Select the closest possible location the closer
    the site the more reporters you will attract
  • Have a variety of specialists available to
    provide information and answer questions

News Media Visits Continued
  • Plan the activities so that the media sees what
    you want them to see
  • Try to provide more than one story angle more
    stories offers more opportunities for the
  • Dont promise anything that you cant deliver
  • Flights over search or damage affected areas
  • Interviews with family members
  • Remember - you are never truly talking off the

Media Interviews
  • How you prepare for a media interview will
    inevitably determine how well the interview goes
    if youre only answering questions youre not
    doing enough
  • Have a few short, clear messages in mind, and
    refer to them often during the interview
  • Always develop your key messages, and let them
    guide the interview answer the medias
    questions, but follow your agenda

Media Interviews Continued
  • Questions to ask when requested to do an
  • When and where is the interview scheduled?
  • How long will the interview take?
  • What is the proposed content?
  • Who will be the interviewer(s)?
  • Are any other people involved as guests or
    subjects? Who?
  • What is the format of the program or article?
  • Any idea of the line of questioning at this time?
  • Will the interview be live, taped, edited?
    Audience present? Questions from them? Call-ins?
  • What should I bring with me? What about props
    for TV?

Media Interviews Continued
  • Anticipating questions, especially the tough ones
    to answer, is required
  • You should never be surprised by reasonable
    questions asked in a scheduled interview that
    youve had time to prepare for
  • Write down the most challenging and logical
    questions given all the facts and circumstances
    of the subject matter, develop a good answer, and
    be prepared to deliver it
  • Be especially prepared to answer questions about
    any negative or controversial aspects of your

Media Interviews Continued
  • Choose a person who is serious about helping you,
    one who will do his or her best in playing the
    interviewers role ask the wing PAO for help
  • Supply the interviewer with your list of
    anticipated questions. Have the interviewer mix
    up the list and rephrase the questions in his or
    her own style.
  • Instruct the interviewer to hammer at getting
    those questions answered. The interviewer
    should, however, feel free to digress and ask
    whatever related questions come to mind

Media Interviews Continued
  • Fully answer each of the interviewers questions,
    but try to redirect the interview back to your
    agenda of prioritized points
  • Set a firm time limit that closely approximates
    what you expect to be given on the program
  • Practice with as many interviewers as possible
  • If you can, videotape or audiotape each interview
    so that you can critique your answers. Pay
    particular attention to how you made your main
    points regardless of the questioning
  • If you make a mistake, start over
  • Work to shorten your answers

Media Interviews Continued
  • Youre never truly speaking off the record
  • Interviewers want you to speak candidly
  • Remember that the interview may be friendly, but
    but may not be your friend, and you will have a
    tough time judging that from a short interview
  • Never be so taken by a member of the media that
    you reveal any bit of information that you would
    not proudly announce on the network evening news
  • Remember your goal is to advance the image of CAP

Media Interviews Continued
  • After the interview
  • Thank the people involved, even if you dont feel
    like thanking anyone
  • Dont be afraid to seek out those who were
    particularly helpful
  • Never allow yourself to drop to a level of being
    unprofessional. Youll be remembered for it,
    sometimes by the least likely person that could
    help you later.

Media Interviews Continued
  • Here are some basic techniques you can use to
    control an interview and get your messages across
  • Bridging is smoothly transitioning from the
    question asked to your messages. A direct
    question deserves a direct answer. But then,
    after briefly touching upon the answer, bridge to
    your messages and your agenda.
  • Hooking is taking advantage of opportunities
    before and during the interview to help focus on
    what you want to talk about. The idea is to
    entice the interviewer into your agenda. Tell the
    interviewer what is on your mind- in most
    instances, your interviewer will be receptive.

Media Interviews Continued
  • Flagging is simply a way to underscore, verbally
    and nonverbally, whats important within your
    answers during the course of an interview. You
    can use voice inflection, a hand gesture, eye
    contact, body language, or a phrase, such as,
    What is really critical to know about this issue
    ..., to ensure the interviewer and audience have
    a clear understanding of what you think is
  • Personal credibility is never forgetting that you
    are the expert- thats why the media has come to
    you for the interview. Use your personal
    knowledge and experience to avoid speaking about
    Civil Air Patrol in the abstract.

Prepare a news summary at the close of the mission
  • Coordinate the mission summary with the IC, and
    key wing personnel like the Wing PAO, ES Officer,
    DO or CC as necessary
  • Determine type of story you will release
  • Determine how you will release the summary Dont
    forget to tell the press a little about CAP and
    its missions again

Continued Training
  • Information officers should familiarize
    themselves with CAP regulations, directives, and
  • ICS Training