Journalism's First Responders


The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation, fearing that many newsrooms don't have a clue about what they'd do if there were another 9/11-type terror attack, will hold workshops in 10 cities in the next year to try to fix that.

"Newsroom and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis" will include a terrorism scenario in which journalists, government officials and experts will interact. Organizers say the terror act could be chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear. The workshop grows out of a 2003 pilot program done in Washington. (That time, the event was a terror bomb that had exploded in a Washington subway.)  

Each workshop will have about 100 participants, including reporters and editors from radio, television, cable and print, and  health and and public information experts. The program starts in Chicago on July 22, and will be repeated in Portland Ore. (August), Kansas City (Sept.), Philadelphia (Oct.), Miami (Dec.), Austin (Jan. 2005), Atlanta, (March), San Francisco (April), Denver (June) and Boston (July).

RTNDF is producing the workshops, but it will tap the resources of the National Academies of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, the National Research Council and the Department of Homeland Security.