MEDIASTRAIGHTalk-November 2017 Edition

November 3, 2017

WATCH WHAT NEW YORK DOES AND COPY IT—After a terrorist, driving a rental truck, mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a lower Manhattan bike path yesterday, the city of New York put together a classic how-to-do-it press conference two hours after the tragedy. The mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered words of sympathy to the fallen and praise to the NYPD and first responders for quick action. They turned it over to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill who gave reporters a time line chronology of the attack and the fast-paced probe and who was involved in chasing down ‘leads’.
Then he opened it up for Q-and-A reminding journalists what authorities were looking for. He declined to answer questions that would have been speculative rather than factual…he only shared information he could release…in a balanced way he took questions from reporters from stage left-center-and right.
He pointed out the NYPD has done extensive outreach to truck rental outfits to help prevent attacks. His deputy commissioner of counterterrorism and intelligence, John Miller, discussed, in general terms, how the city has thwarted attacks against common targets like Times Square and JFK airport. He said extra security was being provided for a popular Halloween parade which was to soon begin near the tragic scene. Then cop boss O’Neill told the media about updates and ended the press conference.

A well-planned and executed press conference that could be used as a “best practice” by the private and public sector. Tell the public what you know and repeat…don’t speculate…offer insight from experts on your team…take questions…provide update information and adhere to a time limit.

Press/news conferences have come a long way from the days of Three Mile Island in 1979 and the Exxon-Valdez Alaska oil spill in 1989. We’d like to think sharing of information has, too.

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