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Advice Unlimited

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Homeland Security Television Wins Three National Telly Awards For Outstanding Training and Documentary Programming, and Editing

The 31st Annual Telly Awards Recognizes HSTV Programs For Production and Editing Excellence

Homeland Security Television has won three Telly Awards in the categories of Training, Documentary and Editing for its diversity training program, Women in Homeland Security, and its special coverage of The 2009 Influenza Pandemic.

With more than 13,000 entries from top cable and television stations, production firms, advertising agencies and corporate video departments around the world, the recognition of HSTV's programming by the Telly Awards competition is a significant achievement.

Founded in 1978, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online film and video.

"HSTV is honored to be recognized for its hard work supporting the Department of Homeland Security and the nation in providing high quality training, education and awareness programming," said Dan Verton, Homeland Security Television's President and Executive Producer. "The programs that won and the categories in which they were recognized is proof that HSTV produces highly professional programming that not only resonates with our core viewership but also stands out among broadcast professionals. This is a great feather in HSTV's cap."

HSTV thanks the subject matter experts who participated in the programming, including: Sandy Evans Levine, Dr. Laura Schwartz, Kathleen Kiernan, Ellen McCarthy, Karen Esaias, Dr. Darlene Sparks Washington, Dr. Eric Von Hoffe, and Dr. Margaret Lewin.

HSTV joins the ranks of other top production companies that have won Telly Awards in the past, including the likes of BET News, Busch Entertainment Corporation, Chicago Tribune, Comcast Entertainment Group, Cox Media Services, Eagles Television Network, ESPN, Gaiam, General Motors - Spring Hill Manufacturing, Golf Channel, Kohl's Department Stores, NASA, NBA Entertainment, NYC TV, Outdoor Channel, PBS, Penn State University, PGA Tour Productions, SCI FI Channel, Sports Illustrated, The Boeing Company, The Weather Channel, Time Life, Warner Bros.

NOTE: I had the privilege of being involved with HSTV's 'Women in Training' video - it was well done, thoughtful and valuable - check it out if you haven't yet...and congrats to HSTV for this impressive recognition!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Public Messaging is a Crucial Element for Any Disaster Recovery Plan

Many of our homeland security, defense, health and human services, and emergency management organizations are doing an outstanding job of contingency planning – creating thorough disaster recovery and contingency plans for specific potential disasters, both natural and man-made. They are thinking through to very specific details and scenarios and they are to be applauded for this. That said, it is startling to me how many of these plans do not incorporate public messaging as a standard element of the plan.

How are you going to inform the public about the problem? How are you going to communicate with the public, to get them to follow crucial instructions that will save their lives? We must not only inform, we must persuade, secure trust, calm, reassure – and get people to actually follow the procedures we detail – or lives will be lost.

Public messaging – how you communicate these crucial, life-saving messages to the public – is just as important as public safety. It is an integral piece of any disaster recovery or contingency plan, yet is often overlooked, ignored, shied away from. Why?

One person said that public relations is often thought of as ‘political communications’ within certain circles of the government, so no one ‘wants to go there.’ But without proper attention, planning and preparation, this crucial piece will not go smoothly. It’s not easy to build trust and calm a public that is in the middle of a disaster; it’s not instinctive to know what are the best words, the appropriate tone, the right level of detail, to diffuse a traumatic situation and lay out a positive plan of action. Just as with all other aspects of a disaster recovery plan, public messaging must be strategically thought through and planned for. Ignoring this element invites chaos, distrust, distress.

Planning for public messaging ensures things will go more smoothly, the public will be informed appropriately and efficiently, and answers will be delivered swiftly. It can make the difference between a bad situation and a calamity; and focuses our attention on a crucial need of the most important element in any disaster recovery plan – the safety and security of our citizens.