On Saturday, April 23, a contingent of students from the College of Media will participate in a massive disaster drill being conducted by the West Virginia National Guard, the governor’s office, WV Homeland Security, state police, bureau of prisons, highways department at Camp Dawson in Preston County, WV.
The disaster – a major one including loss of life—will not be real, but the response by all of these agencies will be as real as they can make it. As they respond, they want to deal with press questions and coverage of what happens.
College of Media students will be involved in two ways. On the PR side, Professors Geah Pressgrove and Julia Fraustino are putting together a group to work with the public information officers in shaping the message, handling press inquiries, etc.
On the news side, a team of 12 to 20 news-focused students will act as the press covering the disaster. Students will be divided into two or three teams representing competing multimedia news organizations. Two members of each team will stay in the command center at Camp Dawson to staff press conferences, ask questions of the brass, coordinate field coverage and post news reports. The rest of the students will be field reporters: covering search-and-rescue ops, talking to “victims” and rescuers and reporting in to the team’s command center.
We will get vans or buses to transport students to the site in the morning and come back sometime in the afternoon. The National Guard is providing lunches.
Any student interested in participating in the news side of this event should contact Tom Stewart as soon as possible.