Media Task Force
The media task force primarily focuses on the creation of a media plan. Task force members should include the following:
- Community coalition spokesperson.
- Public information or public affairs personnel from the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) and the local law enforcement agency.
- City government media liaison.
- Public information officer for the court.
Intense media coverage can have a greater impact on victims and communities than most other factors related to a trial. Therefore, it is important to be thoughtful and strategic about how a community coalition manages the press. A consistent plan should be agreed on by all closed-circuit television (CCTV) viewing sites.
Goals and objectives for CCTV sites and corresponding Safe Havens might include the following:
- Mitigating traumatic stress on victims brought about by exposure to the media.
- Fostering an environment that treats victims with dignity and respect.
- Minimizing media intrusiveness on victims.
- Coordinating all media contacts among CCTV sites.
- Educating the community about victims' issues and needs.
- Supporting victims' healing through use (or nonuse) of the media.
- Protecting and enhancing the hosting community's image as a "victim supportive community."
A coordinated media plan among the various Safe Havens will help to meet the coalition's goals and objectives. The unique circumstances a community will confront will depend on the level of media interest. A coordinated media plan might include the following:
- Identifying a single point of contact for the media.
- Coordinating resources to evaluate information for dissemination and gauge the potential impact on victims, the community, and the USAO.
- Recognizing the USAO's concerns.
- Addressing the coalition's concerns.
- Signing a community coalition media covenant (PDF 24.7 kb).
- Developing relationships with local news sources.
- Providing positive press opportunities that promote goodwill in the community.
- Providing information specifically and solely for the work of the coalition and never speaking on behalf of victims or the USAO.
- Working with law enforcement agencies to establish appropriate barriers and restrictions for the media. These restrictions should encourage victims' privacy and personal choices while respecting the media's needs to report the story.
Resources for Media Task Forces