A Control Test for Public Information Officers

Calling all Public Information Officer types who feel the never-ending urge to keep our finger on the button overseeing everything and everyone. All the time. Be honest and admit it. Being in control is fun (fun, yeah, I think that’s the right word,) but we should have a little talk … because being a PIO […]

Fact Gathering Specialists – The Nuance of Information Collection

I was recently invited to coach and evaluate the workings of a Joint Information Center (JIC) at a large-scale exercise in a magical Southern land where it’s always sunny, the food is beyond amazing and each sip of Cuban espresso is like the “quickening” scene from the first Highlander movie. Here’s what I observed about […]

The Most Important Position in a Joint Information Center

Conventional response doctrine says that when staffing the Joint Information Center, the most qualified or experienced communicator in a unified response organization should fill the role of Public Information Officer – the 2nd most qualified fills the JIC Manager (or Assistant PIO) role and so on, so forth. But in our experience, the JIC Manager […]

ICS: The World’s Biggest Board Game (or, The Godzilla Contingency)

Game study is the study of games: the act of playing them, and the players and cultures surrounding them. It deals with all types of games throughout history and utilizes the tactics of anthropology, sociology and psychology while examining the design aspects of the game, the players in the game, and finally the role the […]

JIC Status Board Specialists: Librarians of Organized Chaos

A Joint Information Center operating at full tilt is a precise and frantic thing: Information flows up through the phone lines in the form of complex questions, community queries and downright pointed accusations. Reports and notifications from the different cells of the Incident Command Post are routed through the Public Information Officer to the JIC […]

Communicating Transparency During the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

I recently spoke at a two-day all-hazard crisis incident response seminar in Berkeley, Calif., titled, “Thriving in the First 96 Hours.” Among other activities, I took part in a leadership panel to field questions about crisis communications. This post, and others, is adapted from my short responses to questions on the topic asked before and during […]