Surviving The Media


Tactical Sling


I’ve recently been asked how to cope with the media at a SWAT incident where you have used a non-lethal chemical agent. I did some research and the best short answer I found was written by Marty Boyer of Communication Advantage. She has written a handbook titled "The Media Survival Pocketbook".

Be prepared to answer hard questions and if possible develop answers ahead of time. Talk in “sound bites. ” This is especially important with broadcast media when you may have only about 12 seconds to respond. Your key message should be short and pithy. Practice limiting your answers to 25 words or less. If reporters want more, they will ask more questions.

You must be aware of the differences between lethal force, less lethal force and non-lethal force. You should always be aware of how safe the use of your agent has been for your department. If you haven’t used it a lot know what the results have been from other agencies that use it. Be an expert! Look at this website that is used by some media to study the impacts of tear gas. (This not Tear Gas Resources) It can give you an understanding of where their questions may come from.

The following are a few excepts from Marty Boyer’s handbook that can benefit us as we deal with the media. Here are some precepts that may help you when you are handling hostile questions and situations:



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