Media professionals in the Territory will be engaged in a training workshop in disaster management next week, April 16 and 17.
The two-day course will bring together GIS officials from around the Caribbean alongside their professional media counterparts to explore and develop the vital role of disseminating accurate and timely information to the public before, during and after disasters, thereby enabling the public to act in ways that will reduce, as far as possible, loss of life and damage to property and the environment.
Media professionals in the Territory will be able to develop their understanding of disaster management, critical components of information management, the process of ‘framing’ and ‘blame gaming’ during disasters, the linkage between island development and disaster management and the need for ethical considerations when reporting on disasters, among other topics.
Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo said that with the on-going threat of natural and man-made hazards, government information officers and professional media counterparts need to be able to plan for disasters and support the Territorial disaster management programme.
Ms. DaBreo said, “The training seminar which is open to both internal and external media professionals in the Virgin Islands will feature twin agendas for two different audiences: media professionals who play a part in the response to a disaster/major incident and GIS officers who coordinate and disseminate information within an incident commend post and the National Emergency Operations Centre.”
The Director added,“The course seeks to demonstrate how disaster managers and media professionals can be integral partners during times of crisis, drawing upon path-finding, contemporary ideas in disaster management and media.”
Participants of the media training programme will engage in relevant and challenging scenario exercises and develop and practice their skills during the two-day training programme with a focus on Framing/Blame Gaming, Likely Q&A, Press Conferences, Emergency Post-Mortems.
A key outcome of this two-day course is to ensure that GIS officials and professional media counterparts better understand each other’s working practices, needs and constraints,when a disaster strikes.
The module will assist media professionals in successfully navigating the complex relationship between disaster management and the media in all its forms; and ultimately to break down boundaries, encourage adaptation and facilitate flexibility in understanding that will ensure a better response and recovery and accurate reporting when the day of disaster arrives.
The Media Training Module is delivered by Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC) and draws upon the very best in research informed professional practice.
The BUDMC training team, led by Mr. Richard Gordon comprises Professor Lee Miles, Professor of Crisis & Disaster Management and Mr. Jamie Martin, Associate Lecturer.