|Everyone into the pool!|
|The downed Bayflite helicopter|
The incident commander did say, however, that one member of the media could come back with the rescue units to get video of the scene. This was the first lesson I learned about creating a media pool - you never select which outlet gets the video. You simply announce to the media members assembled on scene that there is the opportunity, and that they have five minutes to prepare. At that point, it's critical to let the members of the media decide who will do the deed. In this case, one of the stations was considerably closer to the site than the others, so that photographer went back to his station to get the necessary gear to head into the woods while the other stations offered to cover any briefings if he missed them.
|Don't forget the still photographers!|
Of course, the danger for the PIO is that he or she may start to - ahem - set up situations where only single members of the media can be pooled for a situation, but reporters are pretty savvy and can see when you are simply doing that to prevent answering questions from all of the reporters on scene. Don't play that game, it just makes you look shifty.
While it may not be the answer to every situation you run into, for the right situation, the pool may be the right tool for what you need to accomplish.
Tom Iovino, Public Relations Strategist
Hillsborough County, Florida