Breaking news drills

First of all, why don’t most news organizations do this as a rule?

You never know when your newsroom finds itself responsible for covering a large, breaking event.

Rick Hancock of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that in their drill, they built a scenario, gave reporters a heads up at the beginning of the week to let them know something was coming, and sent them out to a scene to cover their “news.”

Things to look at:

  • What to do if the site went down (Do you go straight to social media?)
  • How to handle when/if to take down the paywall
  • How reporters communicate with the newsroom
  • Who’s verifying information/who’s curating it
  • Who you’re talking to in public safety, getting verified information from them
  • Where people are positioned in the newsroom to get the information out as quickly/accurately as possible
  • The best way to get
  • What if reporters don’t have cell coverage (In the event of a natural disaster, this is super applicable.)
  • What to do if your wi-fi goes down
  • When to tweet scanner traffic (Just kidding, the answer to that one is never.)
  • The human toll of covering events, especially when they hit close to home for reporters

Do breaking news drills for your organization. Create as many scenarios as you can. Have contingency plans. Be prepared.

– Naudia Jawad, The Commercial Appeal

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