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Military

Appendix N

GUIDE FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS

GUIDELINES

1. Considerations

  1. When human safety or other serious concerns are involved, deal with those considerations first.

  2. Communicate only information that is approved for external distribution. Always tell the truth.

  3. Know to whom you are speaking. Get the person's name and telephone number, if necessary.

  4. Do not be intimidated. You may tell a reporter that you need to clarify an important matter before you can answer questions.

  5. Talk from the public's viewpoint. Avoid jargon. Speak within the audience's frame or reference.

  6. If the questions do not lie within the framework of approved statements or within your area of expertise, find the appropriate technical advisor or spokesperson.

  7. State the most important fact at the beginning. Place your own headline on the answer.

  8. Attack problems in your answers, not people.

  9. Do not repeat offensive or negative language. Do not let other people put words in your mouth.

  10. Direct questions deserve equally direct and forthright answers.

  11. Do not exaggerate the facts. Listen to how your answer "sounds" when spoken.

  12. Ignore cameras and microphones. Talk to the reporter.

  13. During videotaped interviews, it is all right to stop your statement and start over.

  14. Do not say "no comment." Explain why you do not have an immediate answer.

  15. Keep your composure, even if a news reporter gets snappy.

  16. Be prepared to provide sufficient evidence for statements you make.

  17. Be especially alert about photos. You have little control over photos taken off military reservation property, but you have every right to control photos taken on the military reservation.

  18. Be aware of your surroundings and follow local OPSEC rules when determining interview location

2. What will be asked?

  1. What happened and where? When did this occur

  2. Are there injuries or deaths as a result? How many and to whom?

  3. What actions is the unit taking to control the situation?

  4. Have chemicals or other hazardous substances been released into the environment? What kinds? How much?

  5. What types of hazards are presented to people off-site?

  6. Have off-site emergency response personnel been notified? Which ones?

  7. Are unit operations shut down?

  8. Has the site or facility been evacuated?

  9. How many people are employed at this site?

  10. What do you do at this site?

  11. How old is the facility? Does it meet current regulations?

  12. Why did this situation occur? (DO NOT SPECULATE.)

  13. Are there safety rules covering the situation? Were they violated?

  14. Has a Site Emergency Response Plan been activated? What does that involve?

  15. Tell me about your organization?

  16. Will this situation have national ramifications, or will its effect likely be limited to a single site or region?

  17. How much money is this going to cost the taxpayers?

  18. Is there insurance coverage for the loss or damage? How much?

  19. Are commanders handling the situation locally or is a higher headquarters taking control?

  20. Has this occurred anywhere within the unit before? Why weren't you ready?

  21. What do your soldiers think about this situation?

  22. For accidents and incidents, don't speculate causes. Use "ongoing" investigation statements.



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