Dual Use, Daily Use: Media Relations During Emergencies

County elected officials hear tips on working with the media everyday and during disasters.

Senator Mathias introduces speakers at the MACo Conference.

Senator James Mathias moderated the session. In introducing the speakers he noted the many emergencies that have struck different parts of the State, recalling hurricanes and earthquakes. Senator Mathias represents Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester Counties in the Maryland Senate.

In the MACo Winter Conference Session, Mastering the Media in Crisis and Calm county public information officers and a local emergency management director share advice for county elected officials.

Attendees at MACo learn to “Master the Media.”

Crystal Hunt offered several tips for improving everyday media interactions, including traditional media relations tools such as news releases, letters to the editor, and news conferences. On the subject of news conferences and interviews, Hunt, Charles County Public Information Officer, said,

Pauses are your friend.

In speaking about social media, Tony Jones described the opportunity for round the clock news and instant contact with your audience. Jones, St. Mary’s County Public Information Officer, said,

Feed the beast of the 24-hour news cycle.

Edward Hopkins, spoke specifically on emergency communications. Hopkins is Chief of Harford County Emergency Services.

Hopkins emphasized the importance of emergency communications versus other types of public information. He said,

Providing the right emergency public information at the right time can save lives.