Terrorism workshop set for Wednesday


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will be speaking Wednesday as the Radio Television News Directors foundation conducts a workshop in Baltimore – “News and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis.”

RTNDF has been conducting these workshops nationwide now for some time, with the assistance of the National Academies and the US Department of Homeland Security. This time, DHS Secretary Napolitano will be there in person to deliver opening remarks, along with National Academy of Engineering President Charles West. The daylong workshop will be at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The workshops are designed to examine communication during an emergency—what works and what needs work—as well as to provide scientific background information on potential terrorist threats and guidance on how journalists and public information officers can better prepare in the likelihood of a real world crisis.

Each workshop features a scenario exercise, tailored for each location, in which a small group of journalists, government officials and experts react to a simulated terrorist incident—chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear. The workshops also include useful scientific information, advice on protective measures and disaster planning guidance.

Moderating the Baltimore workshop will be Aaron Brown, the anchor for the PBS program “Wide Angle” and the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. 

Among the panelists for the scenario exercise will be Christopher Thomaskutty, the Deputy Mayor for Administration; Mark Miller, the news director for WBAL radio; Richard Muth, the Director for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency; Gail Bending, the news director for WJZ-13TV; Robert Maloney, the Director for the City of Baltimore’s Office of Emergency Management; Matthew Baise, the Head of Digital Media for The Baltimore Sun; Anthony Guglielmi, the spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department; Kirby Fowler, the President of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore; and a representative from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The workshops are free of charge. Click here to register.

RBR/TVBR observation: Radio and TV are vital for public information in a crisis, so kudos to RTNDF for this ongoing series. There’s nothing political about this type of preparation and both RTNDA and RTNDF have had close associations with the Department of Homeland Security for understanding the media role in an emergency for as long as the department has existed.