Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Parker (left) talks with a SMILE attendee about the importance of timeliness when it comes to dealing with the news media. Photo Dale Stockton
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Regarding the explosion of social media, Capt. Mike Parker, the PIO for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, has never seen such a generational divide as currently exists between command staff and line-level personnel.
Parker is currently at the Social Media, the Internet & Law Enforcement (SMILE) Conference, which runs through May 11 in Chicago. He said, in some areas, command-level officers are ignoring the reality that social media is a very important part of policing.
Social media is here and now and we should seize the moment, he says. We should take advantage of it because it certainly is taking advantage of us (law enforcement).
The news media is now actively using Twitter as a news source. You need to pay attention and if you tweet something, you need to be prepared to follow up.
When it comes to dealing with the media, remember they want quality, quantity and timeliness. We’ve done pretty well on the first two and social media will really help us on timeliness.
With the media, they want a story, not a narrative that sounds like a formal police report.
They’re looking for ACET: action, conflict, emotion and timing.
Think of the different types of social media as different TV channels. A presence on one does not provide a presence on the others. You have to work at it.
Parker encourages departments to remember the 11 C’s that generate media interest:
- Color – human interest
His favorite is when you get critters, children and celebrities in one story—then you’ve really got a winner!
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