The shooting spree at a Colorado cinema and today in New York City warrants compassionate and accurate media coverage, but how should your organization respond in the aftermath of a disaster? Here are some tips that our team put together for dealing with such a crisis:

1. Your first responsibility is to the victims and their families. They should get the information first, whenever possible.
2. Acknowledge social media as an instantaneous source for not-so-reliable news.
3. Be professional with the media, but don’t be afraid to show emotion. Members of the media can stay detached from the tragic event and focused on covering the news. That doesn’t mean you should.
4. Work with law enforcement. Everyone should provide consistent and complementary information at regular intervals.
5. Tighten up leaks. This will keep media from playing sources off one another.
6. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know or, “that’s confidential at this time.” Sharing information that families should get first or that could compromise an investigation should be avoided.
7. Provide a briefing schedule and stick to it. Consistency helps build confidence.

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