WATCH: The Guardian – Three Little Pigs “Open Journalism”

It’s not often those working in Government, the Military or Police Forces give the media the full picture – and there are good reasons for that. But reflecting on how the narrative changed during the Three Little Pigs video, think about all those narrative change junctures that would have caused work for each of their respective media departments.

Instead of shutting information down, providing the media with a true and accurate story from the beginning – in so far as is appropriate, stops much speculation, narrative changes and ergo the resourcing impost on your already stretched workforce during a time of crisis.

READ: Redacted words more trouble for Hilary Clinton than released emails 

READ: Intelligence doesn’t always equal Secrecy

READ: This great analysis on obsessive secrecy – The Secrets of Government Killing

So if secrecy is a fast, sure-fire way of getting into the hurt lock with an insatiable media, why isn’t anyone changing tactics?

Here are my top 7 tips for dealing with the media when information dissemination restrictions are in place:

  1. Communicate. Communicate early, communicate often. Don’t shut the media down or out – they will simply make the job of controlling our narrative near impossible.
  2. Control the Narrative. By communicating early and often you retain control of the narrative as you solidify your position as the single-source of validated information.
  3. Serve your content on a sliver platter. News media outlets don’t have the resourcing they used to so make content for them and serve it up in a ready to ‘click-play’ fashion. Have B-roll footage of Counter Terrorism raids for example ready to share, provide a set of written statements from your hierarchy, get your talking head in front of a press conference.
  4. Be the news. Don’t wait for the news media to start emailing questions to your media team, publish straight to your social media platforms simultaneously. Don’t leave obvious questions unanswered, be ready to engage.
  5. Be open, engaging and honest.What I can tell you is …’ – don’t focus on what you can’t share, focus on what you can. Call out the elephant in the room and detail via your standard talking points why you can’t provide further comment in relation to ongoing operations or investigations. Don’t presuppose the justice system with your remarks (intended or otherwise). Always take questions.
  6. Tell your story. Start at the beginning and end at current events. Always leave the door open for further updates.
  7. Focus on people. Yours and those they are protecting. The details of a matter will come out in court in due course, the narrative you need to control is around making people safe in their communities and ensuring public trust in your workforce.


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