4.10 CO Media Policy
In large emergencies in particular, journalists will approach CARE staff in the field for information. A simple CO Media Policy (Annex 13.8) will ensure CARE staff know what they can and can’t say to a reporter, and who is the appropriate spokesperson for the emergency. If you do not already have a CO Media Policy, the CO Media Policy should be explained to staff at the staff meeting as soon as possible in the emergency, and shared via e-mail and internal information boards. Staff speaking to media without permission can lead to inaccurate information being shared or cause problems for CARE.
Checklist: Key points in a CO Media Policy
If staff are approached by a reporter, they should:
- Explain to the reporter that CARE is happy to help, but the reporter must contact the Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson to ensure the reporter is speaking to the correct CARE staff member.
- Give the reporter the phone number for the Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson. Or, take the name and phone number of the reporter, and pass this information immediately to the Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson. (If neither are available, contact your supervisor.) The Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson will then determine which CARE staff is best suited to do the interview.
- If approval for the interview is given, go ahead and speak to the reporter using any suggestions or guidelines provided by the Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson and following CARE’s principles for talking to the media.
- Always immediately report any contact with a reporter to the Emergency Communications Officer or approved spokesperson.