Skip to main content.

What Drives News?

News reporter interviewing a FEMA Public Information Officer
  • Devote more coverage to events that are dramatic, threatening, and sensational
  • Cover human interest stories in greater depth than science-based information
  • Focus on disputes and conflicts among experts
  • Pay more attention to the politics surrounding a crisis event than the scientific issues
  • Be sure of your facts. Verify the accuracy of information before you release it.
  • Make it easy for journalists to get the facts they need. Be able to cite sources and key statistics (but only if they add meaningful support to your message). Have information available in fact sheets, news releases, and other concise documents created specifically for the media. If it’s down on paper, there are far fewer problems with misinterpretation or miscommunication. For help with news releases, check out the News Release template and News Release Checklist
  • Get to know the other point of view. If you are familiar with information and opinions that are contrary to your points and positions, you'll be better able to anticipate and answer questions from journalists.
  • Stay on message. The media may be more interested in the politics or controversies surrounding a crisis, but you need to ensure that your messages about public health and safety reach your audiences intact. Practice methods for staying on message (covered later in this section)—such as bridging, hooking, and flagging.