The city of XYZ is experiencing serious water shortages, which is a result of bursting pipes and a high population growth rate due to intense real estate development. As such, water and other resources are being constrained, the most being water. Coupled with an increasing effect of climate change, the water problem is being exacerbated to levels enough to cause significant stress to the city. Consequently, the public is panicking and asking several questions. Forest fires in the catchment areas of the city are further making things hard as they are destroying critical infrastructure and complicating maintenance efforts by curtailing the accessibility of the infrastructure.
Relationship with the Media
The media plays an integral role in issues affecting the city, which includes passing information to the public, as well as, collecting important public feedback. As such the city’s administration needs to develop a trustworthy and mutual relationship with the media. The city needs to be in a relationship with the media that will allow it to pass genuine information to the public, as well as, collect and elicit public opinion. This kind of relationship can only be achieved in an environment where the media positions itself as a conduit of true information and does not influence the public in a negative way.
To cultivate this relationship, both the city’s administration and the media need to acknowledge the fact that they are different and they hold different positions of responsibility in society. The first thing that the city’s administration and the media should do it is to accept and celebrate their differences. None of the two groups should get to the negotiating table with pre-formed opinions of the other. The management of the city should never use mechanisms that will cause the media to feel coerced. On the other hand, the media should never use mechanisms that would be perceived as blackmail or intimidation. According to Whitten-Woodring and James (2012), the media’s and population’s access to freedom guaranteed on the constitution should never be curtailed. The media should also not take media freedom for granted, it should ensure that it abides by the law, and it is never used as a mouthpiece for other agencies, which are anti-government.
The Press Conference
During the press conference, a well-known venue, which demands respect, will be used. This can be a place where media will feel free and the spokesman will feel settled to ensure that the event goes on as scheduled. Such a place can be a hotel or in the offices. The communications department of the City of XYZ will manage the conference. The communication department will give passes to different members of the press. The communications department will not discriminate any of the media houses who will be interested in covering the press conference. The designated spokesperson will be the head of the communication department. This is because the head of the department has been with the city for a considerable time and knows the different challenges the city has been having over time. As such, the head of the department will deliver a message that is compact and reflective of the history. The communications head will be in a position to link up the different perspectives of the crisis, as well as, know how to handle different challenges that the members of the press can throw to her.
Reporters are known for being sloppy with their questions. As such, I anticipate that they will ask questions, which will be aimed at exposing or developing a sense of unpreparedness on the part of the city’s administration. The following questions need to be considered. The potential solutions to the problems presented thereof are as follows.
The first anticipated question is in the line of preparedness. It is anticipated that a reporter will ask whether the city has been seeing this coming and what has been done to alleviate the situation and prevent the crisis that is being experienced. To handle this question, the spokesman should be to make it clear that there have been plans to accommodate the growing population but the plans require time before the implementation process is over due to the scarcity of resources. As such, the plans have been done in phases. All the phases have not yet been completed.
The second anticipated question may be projected on what the city is doing to alleviate the situation. To handle the question, the spokesperson will explain to the reporters that the water problem would get handled soon since the project is on the last phases. To hasten the project, non-essential projects have been stopped and the funds directed towards the project.
The last possible question might be directed to the concept of other potential crises in the future. The spokesperson will explain that the city has formed a task force, which will check the vulnerability of the city and its social resources.
A press conference with the media is often a tense moment, especially if the press conference is a response to a crisis. To ensure that there is often a positive relationship between the city’s government and the media, active and deliberate action is needed. The city’s administrators need to ensure that there is a constant flow of honest information and observe media freedom. The media, on the other side, should ensure objectivity and refrain from using blackmail and intimidation. The city’ administration ought to plan adequately before venturing out to get information to the members of the fourth estate.
Whitten-Woodring, J., & James, P. (2012). Fourth estate or mouthpiece? A formal model of media, protest, and government repression. Political Communication, 29(2), 113-136.
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