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close this bookThe News Media and Humanitarian Action - Trainer's Guide - 1st Edition (Disaster Management Training Programme, 159 p.)
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View the documentTrainer’s guide
View the documentThe basics
View the documentThe specifics
Open this folder and view contentsWELCOME, INTRODUCTION AND ICEBREAKERS
Open this folder and view contentsPART 1: COMPLEX EMERGENCIES, HUMANITARIAN ACTION AND THE CRISIS TRIANGLE
Open this folder and view contentsPART 2: ANALYSIS OF MEDIA INFLUENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE CRISIS TRIANGLE
Open this folder and view contentsPART 3: MEDIA RELATIONS

The specifics

Read and familiarize yourself with the module The News Media and Humanitarian Action. This will provide you with the necessary background information and detail to support your presentations, and will also help you prioritize topics for this training.

The trainer’s guide based on this module provides you with summary information, overheads, exercises and training tips to enrich your training.

Select a training approach

You will need to decide what topics need to be covered most fully and which topics can be presented in abbreviated format. You should also decide when you will work in plenary and when you will break into smaller groups. Also, you will need to decide which of the trainer’s guide overheads and exercises to use; more have been provided than you can cover in a three day workshop. Based on the specific needs of participants, revise the suggested training format. Three sample agendas appear at the end of this section. This trainer’s guide is based on the first sample agenda. If you decide to use one of the other two, you will have to select your overheads accordingly.

Participants

This course can be adjusted to meet the needs and interests of field officers and headquarters’ management staff. The workshop will work best with 15-18 participants.

Determine your participants’ specific interests, goals and their level of knowledge and experience with this topic. Plan your agenda accordingly. If you do not have time to conduct a thorough needs and interest assessment, you may want to build in some flexibility and negotiate the agenda with them at the beginning of the workshop.

Use real news media sources

As this course is on the news media and media relations, you are encouraged to enliven and augment the course by using and referring to actual news media sources and materials. For example, when discussing “news media priorities,” you may first want to pass out copies of various newspaper articles covering stories related to complex emergencies and humanitarian action. Participants can deduce priorities by reading the headlines, skimming the stories, listening to radio news or watching television news. Another idea is to have samples of print, television and radio news media covering the same story and compare and contrast the different coverages. Television headline news can help identify the limitations of such coverage.

You may also want to invite a journalist or reporter from the local television or newspaper to attend portions of the workshop. You can ask them to make a presentation on “news media priorities.” For example you may request that they serve as resource persons, or ask them to conduct mock news interviews with your staff, which can then be analyzed.

Remember, be creative in identifying and using resources that deal with the news media. Design sessions which are tailored to meet the needs and interests of your participants.

The Crisis Triangle in Surania: A Simulation

This simulation - “The Crisis Triangle in Surania: Humanitarian Agencies and the News Media” - complements the training module The News Media and Humanitarian Action. After the initial introduction and icebreakers we recommend that you begin this exercise to provide participants with a common point of reference throughout the remainder of the workshop. It is designed with three broad objectives in mind:

- To offer workshop participants an overview of media priorities in reporting on complex emergency situations and of the limitations faced by the media in carrying out those responsibilities.

- To note the value of collaboration among humanitarian agencies in setting organizational media strategies and to give participants the opportunity to generate ideas on how those strategies might by formulated.

- To provide participants with a “shared point of reference” which can then be used throughout the rest of the workshop to underscore essential concepts and concerns.

Review and training tips

The following provides an overview of the content of each part, as well tips to help you decide what you should cover in your training workshop.

Part 1: Complex emergencies and the crisis triangle

Part 1 introduces the complex humanitarian arena in which the news media, humanitarian institutions and government policymakers interact and analyzes each of these institutions with reference to its agendas and interests, its range of responses to humanitarian crises, and its limitations.

Chapter 1 “The humanitarian arena,” and Chapter 3 “Humanitarian institutions” will be review for participants from humanitarian organizations with experience in complex emergencies, disaster management and humanitarian action. If this is the case, you may choose to skip most of the material and primarily focus on the concept of the “crisis triangle” and the “CNN factor” presented in Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 “Government policymaking institutions” will be review for those participants with extensive knowledge and experience in international relations and politics. This section is a valuable review, however, as it reminds participants that governments have multiple and competing interests, agendas and priorities in humanitarian action. It is also useful to review the policymaking process to recognize that government policymaking is a complex, multilevel, nonlinear endeavor.

Part 2: Analysis of media influence and recommendations for the institutions of the crisis triangle

Part 2, Chapter 5 “Analyzing media influence” presents various frameworks for analyzing the timing, level and degree of news media impact on government policymaking and humanitarian action. These frameworks will better prepare participants for the analysis, discussion and presentation of their assigned case studies. Present and explain the concept behind each of the frameworks using the overhead transparencies provided in this trainer’s guide. You should also remind participants that these frameworks are in the module. The concepts and discussion of frameworks presented in this chapter are also useful tools for more accurately analyzing the news media influence in more current crises.

Part 2 also examines the relationship among the crisis triangle (news media, government policymakers and humanitarian organizations) in seven post-Cold War crises: Liberia, Sudan, Northern Iraq, Somalia, former Yugoslavia, Haiti, and Rwanda. This examination illustrates some of the ways that the media do - and do not - influence policy processes and humanitarian responses. These cases also highlight the mutual influence among the players in the crisis triangle as well as the ways each is dependent on the other. These case studies offer excellent material for discussing, analyzing and drawing conclusions about the crisis triangle and news media influence on government policymaking and humanitarian action. One way to cover all of the case studies is to assign one case study for review and analysis by different participants or small groups.

Finally, Chapter 7 “Better policy, better action, better coverage” provides recommendations on how each institution of the crisis triangle can function more effectively and cooperatively in the humanitarian sphere. If pressed for time, the facilitator may choose only to present and/or discuss recommendations for improving humanitarian agency response and news media relations.

Part 3: Media relations

Part 3 provides an introduction to dealing with the news media and dealing with media interviews. Chapter 8, “Dealing with the news media,” and Chapter 9, “Guidelines for media interviews,” can be presented along with Chapter 4, “The news media,” as an independent workshop to prepare staff for direct contact and interviews with the news media.

Developing your media relations staff handbook

This training workshop can also serve as a springboard for developing or updating your agency’s handbook of media relations policies and guidelines. If this is your goal, we suggest that you conduct the simulation and cover at least the material in Chapter 4, “The news media,” all of Part 2 and all of Part 3. You may also want to obtain samples of media relations guidelines and policies from other agencies to use in developing your own.

Sample workshop agendas

The materials in this trainer’s guide can be adjusted to prepare for training workshops lasting from one-half day to three days. Below, are some suggested options for workshop schedules and agendas. They are designed for groups of 15 - 20 participants in a highly interactive and participatory workshop format. Lead trainers must be familiar with the information in the training module and must possess good workshop facilitation skills.

Objectives

1. Participate in a simulation to experience the news media interviews and coverage in complex emergency situations.

2. Identify and understand news media types, structure, interests, priorities and limitations.

3. Identify and understand government humanitarian policymaking priorities and interests, levels of policymaking, models of the policymaking process, and limitations on governmental response to complex emergencies.

4. Analyze news media coverage and influence in complex emergencies

5. Identify and discuss the implications for your agency of news media coverage and influence.

6. Identify ways and reasons for dealing professionally with the news media.

7. Discuss and begin developing agency media relations policies and guidelines.

8. Discuss and practice guidelines for interviewing with the news media.

OPTION #1 - 2 ¾ day workshop - DAY 1

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Day 1

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

10:30-
11:00

Icebreaker
News media experience, perceptions and beliefs

Example: One minute per participant for introduction and brief statement describing either an experience, perception, or belief related to the news media. The facilitator can write these down on a flip-chart.

OH 1,4,5

11:00-
11:30

Overview of workshop
Objectives
Agenda
Changes?
Questions
Distribute modules

Present the agenda and objectives.
Allow time for responding to participant questions and concerns.

OH 2,3

Agenda

Training modules

11:30-
12:00

Simulation preparation
Introduction
Review crisis triangle concept
Distribute background documents
Assign roles

Use the simulation “The crisis triangle in Surania: Humanitarian agencies and the news media In complex emergencies.” Introduce the simulation and quickly summarize the simulation background. Introduce all of the roles. Let participants choose the role they will play.

Simulation “The Crisis Triangle in Surania”

OH 8
The crisis triangle

12:00-
13:30

Lunch
Simulation role preparation
Skim module contents
Simulation activity

Over lunch, participants should read the simulation background information and prepare for their role play

Simulation “The Crisis Triangle in Surania”

13:30-
17:30


Facilitator should refer to the simulation agenda and instructions in the accompanying simulation guide. The Crisis Triangle in Surania”

Simulation “The Crisis Triangle in Surania”

OPTION #1 - 2 ¾ day workshop - DAY 2

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Day 2

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

9:00-
10:30

The news media
Types, structure of news media
News value
Media limitations

Use a combination of presentation and small group discussion to cover this topic.
Suggestion: Invite a newspaper or TV journalist or reporter to make a presentation on news media priorities, or on what criteria they use to determine the news value of stories.

Chapter 4

10:30-
11:00

BREAK



11:00-
12:00

Government policymaking
Priorities and interests
Policymaking process
Models of policymaking
Limitations
The CNN factor does it exist?

Use a combination of presentation and interactive methods. Choose the points to cover, the ones to present, and those to formulate as questions aimed at soliciting participant discussion and ideas.
Suggestion: Invite one or more participants from a donor government agency.

Chapter 2, Also parts of Chapter 1 on “Models of policymaking”

12:00-
13:00

LUNCH



13:00-
13:30

Case study
analysis-introduction
Introduce analytical frameworks
Assign case studies
Give instructions to groups

Present various frameworks for analyzing news media influence. Split participants into 3-6 groups to analyze case studies.
Assign one case study to each group or have each group look at two in a comparative fashion. Hand out the overhead questions each group should answer and present groups with dear instructions. Participants may also choose to analyze a more current crisis or case study that they are familiar with.

Part 2 overheads and frameworks for analysis and case studies in Part 2, Chapters 5-6 of the module.

13:30-
14:45

Case study analysis: small groups

In small groups, participants should spend approximately:
15 minutes - for individually reading, analyzing and taking notes on the assigned case study and questions.
45 minutes - to discuss and arrive at consensus on their analysis and responses to assigned questions
15 minutes - to prepare presentation for the larger group (should include background information on the case study as well as analysis/response to questions.)

Copies of instructions, Part 2 overhead questions, flip chart paper, module Part 2.

14:45-
15:00

BREAK



15:00-
16:00

Small group case study reports and larger group discussion

Each group has 5-7 minutes to present their case study analysis to the larger group. Allow time for additional comments, questions and discussion from other participants on each of the case studies.

Part 2 overheads, flip chart paper.

16:00-
17:00

Conclusions

Ask the participants for any final comments, insights, or conclusions they have gained from these case study analyses. This may also be a good time to ask participants if they have additional topics or issues to add to those that are proposed for the small group discussions tomorrow.

Flip chart paper, Part 2.

OPTION #1 - 2 ¾ day workshop - DAY 3

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Day 3

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

9:00-
10:00

Small group discussion: implications for agency policy and action

Objectives: To raise awareness of the implications of issues raised in the workshop on participants’ own agencies and on humanitarian action, in general Also, to recognize the need for agencies to develop news media relations strategies, policies and guidelines.

Propose the following three topics for small group discussion, or solicit one or two additional topics from the group. Split participants, or have them self-select, into two or three smaller groups, each discussing one of the topics.
Topic 1: Positive and negative impact and implications of the news media on policy, humanitarian action and your own agency’s actions.
Topic 2: Brainstorm and discuss general recommendations for improving humanitarian agency response and news media relations.
Topic 3: Need and opportunity for coordinating media relations strategies with other agencies.
Topic 4, 5?: Topics raised by the group.

Part 2 overheads

10:00-
10:30

Small group presentations:
implications for agency policy and action

Small groups from previous session make 5-8 minute presentations back to the larger group


10:30-
11:00

BREAK



11:00-
12:00

Dealing with the news media

Present most of the material in Chapter 8, up to the section on developing internal agency policies and guidelines.

Part 3

12:00-
13:00

LUNCH



13:00-
14:30

Developing internal media relations policies and guidelines handbook: working groups

Introduce the topic and reiterate the importance of developing media relations handbooks for agencies.
Brainstorm, discuss and prioritize what should be included in such a handbook (30 minutes).
Split into 3 to 4 working groups to begin working on the details of two to five of the agency policies, guidelines or issues. Working groups may also review existing policies and guidelines (60 minutes).

Part 3

14:30-
15:00

Working group presentations

Each working group has 4 to 5 minutes to report back to the larger group. Emphasize that the point is to raise and begin addressing issues, not to resolve all of them. Suggest that a committee or working group volunteer to meet after the workshop to draft an agency media relations handbook on policies and guidelines.


15:00-
15:15

BREAK



15:15-
17:00

Guidelines for media interviews

Present the material in Chapter 9 using the overheads. You may also decide to stage mock interviews with the news media which can be videotaped and analyzed, or you may ask a group of participants to give feedback on the mock interviews. Mock interviews may be developed based on actual and current experience, or you may use the Surania simulation as your common point of reference.

Part 3, Chapter 9

Objectives

1. Participate in a simulation-to experience the news media interviews and coverage in complex emergency situations.

2. Identify and understand news media priorities and limitations.

3. Analyze news media coverage and influence in complex emergencies.

4. Discuss and begin developing policies and guidelines for nurturing media relations.

5. Discuss and practice guidelines for interviewing with the news media.

OPTION #2 - 1 ½ day workshop - DAY 1

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Day 1

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

11:30-
12:00

Introduction and overview of workshop
Objectives
Agenda
Changes?
Questions?
Distribute modules

Begin workshop by using one of the icebreakers suggested in this trainer’s guide (15 minutes).

Present the agenda and the objectives. Allow time for responding to questions and concerns (15 minutes).

Overheads 1,2, 3, modules

12:00-
12:30

Simulation preparation
Introduce simulation
Review concept of the crisis triangle
Distribute background documents
Assign simulation roles

Use the simulation, “The crisis triangle in Surania: Humanitarian agencies and the news media in complex emergencies.” Introduce the simulation and quickly summarize the simulation background. Introduce all of the roles, and allow participants to choose the role they will play.

Simulation “The crisis triangle in Surania”

12:30-
13:30

Lunch
Simulation role preparation
Skim module contents

Over lunch, participants should read the simulation background information and prepare for their role play

Simulation “The crisis triangle in Surania”

13:30-
17:30

Simulation activity

Refer to the simulation agenda and instructions in the accompanying simulation guide, “The Crisis Triangle in Surania.” Identify news media interests, priorities and limitations.

Simulation “The crisis triangle in Surania”

OPTION #2 - 1 ½ day workshop - DAY 2

The News Media and Humanitarian Action

Day 2

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

8:30-
9:00

Case study analysis: introduction
Introduce analytical frameworks
Assign case studies
Give instructions to groups

Present the various frameworks for analyzing news media influence. Participants should be split into 3 to 6 groups to analyze different case studies. You may assign each group one case study to analyze, or two to analyze in a comparative fashion. Hand out the overhead questions each group should answer, and present the groups with clear instructions. Participants may also choose to analyze a more current crisis or case study that they are familiar with.

Part 2 overheads and frameworks for analysis and case studies in Part 2, chapters 5-6 of the module.

9:00-
10:30

Case study analysis: small groups

In small groups, participants should spend approximately:
15 minutes individually reading, analyzing and taking notes on the assigned case study(ies) and questions.
45 minutes discussing and arriving at consensus on their analysis and responses to assigned questions.
15 minutes to prepare their presentation back to the larger group (They should provide background information on the case study as well as analysis/response to questions.)

Copies of instructions, Part 2 overhead questions, flip chart paper, module Part 2.

10:30-
11:00

BREAK



11:00-
12:00

Small group case study reports and larger group discussion

Each group has 5-7 minutes to present their case study analysis to the larger group. Allow time for comments, questions and discussion from other participants.

Part 2 overheads, flip chart paper

12:00-
12:30

Dealing with the news media

Present most of the material in Chapter 8, up to the section on developing internal agency policies and guidelines.

Part 3, chapter 8

12:30-
13:30

LUNCH



13:30-
14:45

Developing internal media relations policies and guidelines handbook: working groups

Introduce the topic and reiterate the importance of developing media relations handbooks for agencies.
Brainstorm, discuss and prioritize what should be included in such a handbook (30 minutes).
Split into 3 to 4 working groups to begin working on the details of two to five of the agency policies, guidelines or issues. Working groups may also review existing policies and guidelines (60 minutes).

Part 3, Chapter 8.

14:15-
15:00

Working group presentations

Each working group has 4 to 5 minutes to report back to the larger group. Emphasize that the point is to raise and begin addressing issues, not to resolve all of them. Suggest that a committee or working group volunteer to meet after the workshop to draft an agency media relations handbook on policies and guidelines.


15:00

BREAK



15:15-
17:00

Guidelines for media interviews

Present the material in Chapter 9 using the overheads. You could stage mock interviews with the news media and videotape and analyze them, or you may ask a group of participants to give feedback. Develop mock interviews based on actual and current experience, or use the Surania simulation as your common point of reference.

Part 3, chapter 9

Objectives

1. Identify and understand news media types, interests, priorities and limitations.

2. Analyze news media coverage and influence in complex emergencies.

3. Discuss implications of news media coverage on agency operations, policies and guidelines.

4. Begin outlining what issues and guidelines should be included in an agency media relations handbook.

OPTION #3 - One-day workshop

News Media Priorities and Influence in Complex Emergencies

Time

Session topic or theme

Methods

Materials

8:30-
9:00

Introduction and overview
Objectives, agenda
Changes? Questions?
Distribute modules

Begin with one of the icebreakers suggested earlier (15 minutes). Present agenda and objectives. Allow time for responding to participants’ questions and concerns (15 minutes).

OH 1-4

9:00-
10:00

News media types, interests, limitations

Either present this info, ask participants to identify news media types, interests and limitations, or use a combination of presentation and discussion.

Part 1 Chapter 4

10:00-

BREAK



10:30-
11:00

Case study analysis: introduction
Analytical frameworks
Case study groups
Instructions

Present frameworks for analyzing media influence. Split up into 3-6 groups. Assign a case study to each or have each group compare two situations. Give overhead questions to each group with dear instructions. Groups may want to analyze a current crisis that they are familiar with.

Part 2 - Overheads and frameworks for analysis and case studies in chapters 5-6 of the module.

11:00-
12:30

Case study analysis: small groups

Divide time in small groups as follows:
15 minutes - read, analyze and take notes individually on the assignment
45 minutes - discuss, arrive at consensus on analysis and responses to questions.
15 minutes-prepare presentation for the larger group (include background case study info and analysis/response.)

Copies of instructions, Part 2 overhead questions, flip chart paper, module Part 2

12:30-

LUNCH



13:30-
14:00

Reports and larger group discussion

5-7 minute group presentations. Allow time for additional comments, questions and discussion from other participants.

Part 2 overheads, flip chart paper

14:00-
15:00

Large group discussion

Facilitate two-30 minute discussions on:

1. Positive/negative impact, implications of news media on participants’ own agencies’ actions and operations.

2. Brainstorm, discuss and prioritize issues, policies and guidelines for inclusion in an agency handbook.

Part 2 overheads

15:00-

BREAK



15:30-
16:30

Developing internal policies handbook: working groups

Introduce topic; reiterate importance of developing media relations handbook. Split into 3 to 4 groups to begin work on details of 2-5 agency policies, guidelines or issues. Can review existing guidelines.

Part 3, Chapter 8

16:30-
17:00

Working group presentations

Group reports: 4-5 minutes. Raise/begin to address issues, rather than resolve them. Suggest a volunteer group meet after workshop to draft an agency media relations handbook on policies and guidelines. At least design and develop next steps.


17:00-
17:15

WRAP-UP

Wrap-up and remind participants of the contents of the training module.


Additional training tips

Quick review Chapter 1: The Humanitarian Arena

15 minutes

Quick review Chapter 2: Government Policymaking Institutions

30 minutes

Quick review Chapter 3: Humanitarian Institutions

15 minutes

In-depth discussion, and presentations Chapter 4: The News Media

60 minutes

Suggested time for workshop topics

Topic and general objectives

Time allocation

Overheads, Parts/Chapters

Introduction and icebreakers

45 minutes

OHM

The crisis triangle, priorities and constituencies of each

45 minutes

Part 1

Simulation

5 hours

Simulation

The CNN factor, policymaking models, (analytical framework here, or right before or after case studies)

1 hour

Part 1, Chapter 1
Part 2, Chapter 5

Case studies

2½ hours

Part 2

The news media: interests, priorities, responses, limitations

1 hour

Part 1, Chapter 4

Government institutions and limitations

30 minutes

Part 1, Chapter 2

Humanitarian institutions: media relations policies, guidelines, and interagency coordination

2 hours

Parts 2 and 3

Media relations

3 hours

Part 3