- Montana Public Radio is an important news source for citizens in our communities of service.
- At all times, Montana Public Radio maintains its journalistic values of accuracy, fairness and independence.
- Montana Public Radio strives to imbue all coverage with context, civility and craftsmanship.
- Montana Public Radio cannot be primary source of news in communities where we have no staff.
Four Key Functions in Times of Crisis
- Vital InformationResource: Montana Public Radio provides calm, factual accounts of what is happening, where it is happening, who is affected and how things are changing, and explains why.
- Communication Lifeline: Montana Public Radio saves lives by relaying critical information to and from affected parties.
- Early warning beacon: Montana Public Radio saves lives and property by transmitting timely, reliable information that prevents harm.
- Community Forum: Montana Public Radio connects citizens, giving them a way to come together, share concerns and support one another during difficult times.
Plan for Decision Making –Assess, Mobilize, Air
- Assess: the first person aware of the news notifies news management. Management sets appropriate response level.
- Mobilize: Studio staff is the first need –to feed air. Newsroom staff is the second need –to feed studio. Field staff is next –to feed newsroom and studio.
- Air: Provide summaries promptly. Present facts calmly, carefully. Repeat as necessary. Adjust coverage proportionately to severity, interest and resources.
Five Emergency Response Levels
- Low, normal format
- Medium-low, updates in format
- Medium-high, updates break format
- High, limited extended coverage
- Ultra-high, unlimited extended coverage
Emergency Level One
Lowest response level
Air can wait.
- Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions: Does the emergency directly affect few people (1-4)? Is it clear the emergency isn’t becoming worse? Can public curiosity wait until a scheduled newscast?
- Mobilize: News Director assesses response. News anchor feeds air in newscasts. News reporter covers if assigned.
- Air: Regularly scheduled newscasts
Examples: fatal fires, severe accidents, some crimes, minor storms, minor flooding, remote quakes
Emergency Level Two
Medium-low response level
Stay in format, use special updates
- Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions: Does the emergency directly affect relatively few people (5-20)? Are the effects severe or potentially severe? Is it clear the emergency won’t become worse anytime soon? Does public interest/curiosity warrant timely updates? Can the facts be summed up in brief?
- Mobilize: News Director assesses response, makes assignments. Program Director is advised. Air Host may provide information in breaks. News anchor may provide added newscasts. News reporters cover as assigned.
- Air: Use regularly scheduled breaks. Use scheduled newscasts or unscheduled newscasts, in format. If event is outside Missoula, suggest that listeners access local broadcast station.
Examples: Major storm watches, large fires/forest fires (smoke visible, no imminent threat), major crimes or events of public interest (no imminent threat).
Emergency Level Three
Medium-high response level
Break format for special updates
High urgency/wide interest
Serious situation/potential for escalation
- Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions: Is the emergency in Missoula?* Does the emergency directly affect or potentially affect many people (more than 20)? Are the effects severe or potentially severe? Is it possible the emergency will become worse? Does public concern or curiosity warrant immediate updates? Can the facts be summed up in brief?
- Mobilize: News Director and Program Director assess response and make assignments. News Anchor provides special updates as soon as possible. Air Host may also provide information in breaks. All available news reporters check in for duty.
- Air: Break in with special updates. Return to regular programming after updates.
Examples: Severe storm warnings, large fires/forest fires with smoke and potential threat, major crimes with potential threat,isolated civil disturbance, local but minor earthquake.* If emergency is outside Missoula, urge listeners to access local broadcast station for news & information.
Emergency Level Four
High response level
Break format, use extra staff
High urgency, wide impact or concern
Serious situation requiring extensive but not ongoing coverage
- Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions: Is the emergency in Missoula?* Is KUFM on the air? Does the emergency directly affect many people(more than 100)? Are the effects severe? Does public interest or curiosity override most other programming options? Is the emergency or its aftermath continuing? Can we sustain extended coverage?
- Mobilize: News Director and/or Program Director assess response. News Director makes assignments. News anchor provides special updates as soon as possible. All news reporters check in for duty.
- Air: Break in with special updates. Mount extended coverage regardless of format.
Examples: Significant natural disasters, singular events with widespread casualties, riots, war or military attack or major event with widespread implications or overriding public concern.* If event is outside Missoula, direct listeners to tune to their local broadcast stations for news and information.
Emergency Level Five
Highest response level
Break format, use all staff
Extreme urgency, disastrous situation with widespread impact
Events require ongoing coverage
- Assess: Situation qualifies if “yes” is the answer to these questions: Is the emergency in Missoula?* Is KUFM on the air? Does the emergency directly affect most or all people in Missoula? Are the effects severe or momentous? Is the emergency or its aftermath continuing? Does public interest or curiosity override all other programming options? Can we deploy all available resources to support coverage? Can we sustain nonstop coverage?
- Mobilize: News Director and/or Program Director and/or Station Manager assess response. News Director makes assignments. News anchor provides special updates. Air host announces frequent updates as provided by news department. All news reporters check in for duty. Extra staffing may be necessary.
- Air: Non-stop coverage
Examples: Catastrophic local natural disasters, unfolding event with major casualties or potential for casualties, widespread civil disturbance, war or attack or events of universal public concern.* If emergency is outside Missoula direct listeners to tune to local stations for news and information.
Staff Roles and Responsibilities
News Director (all levels): Lead authority on key decisions. Coordinates reporters in the newsroom and in the field. Run update of what we know and need to find out. On-site monitoring of standards and practices. Contact with Programming, Operations and other station departments.
News Anchor (all levels): Regular updates on what we know. Writes, tapes. May also serve as cost host on air with News Director, Air Host, Program Director.
Reporter (all levels): Does Q&As with news anchor. Contributes to frequent updates. Does voicers and live interviews from field. Provides tape from field. Provides phone tape from newsroom. Produces packaged spots from newsroom. Does quick turn-around features.
Program Director (levels 3-5): Controls access to airtime. Brings knowledge of programming. Supervises on-air announcers. Serves as liaison to NPR programming. Serves as liaison to Technical Director and Engineering.
Technical Director (levels 3-5): Provides technical support to on-air special programming. Supervises engineering staff in special operations required to support on-air effort.
Host (levels 4-5): Reads news. Provides air presence. Provides continuity. Handles conversations with reporters, experts and callers.
Other staff: Provides logistical support for staff involved in coverage.