Media telephone responders

The first point of contact for the media in a major emergency or crisis is very often the telephone responders team

The media telephone responders play a vital role in the initial communication between the press and the company. This one day course takes participants through practical sessions along with a full media awareness session.

Up to 10 participants per new course or 5 per half day refresher session.

Designed for company volunteers who would not be expected to conduct interviews however would flag up requests for senior spokespeople, provide press statements, work from holding statements and essentially hold the fort until the cavalry arrive.

A typical day starts with a look at the current newspaper headlines and the top news story of the week giving an overview of media tactics and the importance of the media responders role. After issuing a base scenario which is updated throughout the training session, the first round of telephone based media calls begin. These initial calls are made by the training team however, subsequent calls include the opportunity for participants to play the role of media alongside the training team. By thinking like a journalist, course participants gain a different perspective on the media requirements by simply asking the basic questions that any reporter or journalist would ask.

Full feedback of each call is delivered at the end of each session allowing participants to critique themselves and other course participants. Feedback forms regularly highlight the fact that people will learn a great deal by watching and listening others handling the same situation. More tips and techniques follow before the next session based purely on the company holding statement. These statements normally pre- approved and give the responder a true understanding of the limitations and lack of information at the early stages of any incident.

The value and importance of keeping log sheets, flagging up requests for information and interviews to the room team leader and basic room setup is covered during this session. The best training in the world will be worth very little if the team members do not have a basic understanding of where the equipment is and how to operate it!

Further statements are issued and worked with for the remaining interview sessions on the day.

We recommend that a half day refresher is conducted every 9 - 12 months and team members should take part in as many company exercises as possible to ensure that these skills are not lost.

“Professional media and relative responders training can protect and even enhance the reputation of your company during a crisis”