News Conference Preparation Guide

Checklist 2 min
Use this checklist to prepare for and conduct a news conference for a sensitive or complex event or crisis.

The public affairs office may need to hold a news conference to cover a crisis, distinguished visitor or high-profile event. If a story is sensitive or complex enough to warrant a news conference, remember to stay vigilant in protecting sensitive material.

If you see a violation by media or visitors, immediately notify the appropriate security POC of suspected photography of classified information. If it appears there was intent to deliberately film or videotape classified information, immediately report the violation to the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (OASD) or Public Affairs.

Before using this checklist, check with your unit to verify that no other specific essential tasks are required.

  1. Ensure the commander and staff understand the purpose of a news conference
  2. Send out a Media Advisory and/or News Release to media representatives
  3. Provide media training to command, senior leaders and subject matter experts (SME)
  4. Verify that Media Operations Center (MOC) has been sanitized
  5. Confirm MOC has enough communication and electrical equipment to support event
  6. Ensure the site of the news conference is properly prepared or otherwise set-up
  7. Ensure VI specialists are prepared to record
  8. Prepare for media prior to conference date/time:
    1. Verify media press credentials
    2. Brief media on the current situation, base organizations involved and any possible risks of personal harm
    3. Inform media representatives that are not allowed beyond the cordoned perimeter, if established
    4. Request controlled media badge for each representative
  9. Establish media presence on the day of the event
    1. Ensure media representatives have adequate protective gear prior to base entry
    2. Log visit into controlled media log and issue controlled media badge
    3. Coordinate with security to ensure they recognize the badge
    4. Distribute digital or physical information packets (agenda, fact sheets, biographies) and stock photographs
    5. Establish criteria and ground rules for the press conference to media representatives prior to the conference
    6. Notify media representatives and visitors of any restrictions with regard to what can and cannot be filmed in a given area
  10. Be aware of potential security violations the day of the event
  11. Write a News Conference Script
  12. Deliver opening statement and introduce the speaker
  13. Allow time for a question-and-answer session
  14. Document deliverables for media representatives raised during the Q&A session
  15. Deliver closing statement and verify deliverables for media representatives
  16. Completely log all activity on the events log
  17. Prepare and distribute a news release about what was said at the news conference