Day-2 of the State of Ohio #Basic #PIO class #Summit

Day-2 of the State of Ohio Basic Public Information Officers’ Course here in Summit County. And yaaassss, #OnWednesdaysWeWearPink!

Started off the morning talking about interview skills and techniques that are readily used by both PIOs and Reporters/Photojournalists.

Reviewed all oncamera interviews from all the participants in our class.

We want to prepare our new PIOs with the best training so they are capable off hitting the ground running representing their agency positively in a crisis or emergency.

Steve brought in the Team from WKYC (NBC affiliate) Akron Office to be our panel discussion.

Lots of great points including what could make or break a PIO – esp for a close tight knit community like Akron and Summit County. Special thanks to Reporter Amani Abraham and Photojournalist Carl Bachtel on their insight to news media.

PC: Bosso

I was able to get my friend Cleveland Police PIO Sgt Jennifer Ciaccia to give a dual presentation with me on the 2016 Republican National Convention and other Cleveland activities.

As a team, Jen and I are solid, but we recognize that others are needed to establish the efforts of PIOing within their own communities – no matter pre-planned event or emergency.

And yes, we addressed how PIOs need to keep current on social media trends esp on national cool campaigns…like the mannequin challenge.

Again, special thanks to Jen on the support of today’s State of Ohio Basic PIO class.

PC: Bosso

PC: Bosso

Afternoon was dedicated to the PIO TTX. We setup two groups with all participants for the in class mock press conference and they did a solid job. Both groups worked together…

…and formulated talking points….

…organized and strategically thought out a press conferences agenda…

…prepped speakers…

And of course controlled the unruly fictitious media reps from OZRadio, WTF, and the YellowBrickRoadNews. FEMA Phil and USFA Tom would be so proud of us MPIOs to see us working the press conference part of the class.

Another great day for PIO training in the State of Ohio!


2018 Second Quarter #PIO Training at WOIO Channel 19 news #PresidentsDay

Leading off our 2018 2nd quarter Public Information Officer (PIO) Training at WOIO Channel 19/43 (CBS Affiliate).

I’m proud to have so many PIOs from across the State of Ohio and West Virginia discussing current issues and breaking news.

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

Collaboration and coordination were consistent themes we revisit all the time including Joint Information Center and Joint Information Systems (JIC/JIS). Current news stories like the FL shooting were hot button topics but we also discussed the Boston Bombing, FacebookLive killer, 2016 Republican National Convention, Chardon Shooting, Burke Lakefront plane crash, 3 girls missing for 10+ years, Imperial Ave murders, World Series, and NBA Championships.

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

But knowing that other PIOs are going through the same issues, we can commiserate and work toward a solution. Yes, of course we did the behind the scenes tours of the studio, desk assignment/reporter bullpen….

…anchor desks, and even popped into a planning meetings for the evening broadcast.

We had so many various disciplines represented.

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

PC: Beth Zietlow-DeJesus

Great to see all those hard working PIOs ensuring the safety for their communities on Presidents’ Day.

PC: Chris Tanaka

PC: Chris Tanaka

Special thanks to Anchor Chris Tanaka, Acting News Director Brian Sinclair, Mel Watson, Assignment Editor Shelly Steinmetz, and Reporter Jennifer Picciano. Trust me – it’s great to have media partners working with the NEOhio PIOs!

I’m @rusnivek, reporting live from 19 News desk…..


Sunday #PIO interviews for ABC Local 10 News in the Keys

Sunday is a packed day of media interviews!!

Hosting news crews from all over Florida here in Branch V isn’t easy esp when you are the only PIO assigned to the Division A. But yo – you gotta make magic happen.

Great to have news agencies that want to report the right story.

Glad to have my friends from ABC News10 in town.


State of Ohio EMA – Basic Public Information Officer’s Course in Medina County

Day-2 of Ohio EMA’s Basic Public Information Officer’s course here in Medina County EMA welcoming participants from two different FEMA Regions to our class!

We have representation from almost every ESF – outstanding to see that kind of participation in our state class.

It’s going to be a packed two days of training including classroom discussion…

…complex in-class activities…

…on-camera interviews…

…engaging (and crazy reporter) type questions…

…and of course we had several contentious mock press conferences.

Train like you fight right? We also discussed how our varied experiences lends a ton of expertise to our ongoing operations in any community across this great nation.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s JIC/JIS course!



Great first day of Basic Public Information Officer #PIO Course in Athens County Ohio

Kicking off another solid FEMA / Ohio EMA Basic Public Information Officer’s course.


We have participants from across the state of Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia!


So Region-5 and Region-3 are well represented.


Proud to have a diverse class this week in Athens County, Ohio.


Lots of class engagement with several opening activities assessing preparedness levels as well as gaps in PIO responses.


Addressing difficult situations (aka anticipating media questions) with PIOs or agency heads before they happen is a critical skill that every PIO should master.


Deep discussion on how all-hazards PIOs could support various operations with public safety. Also dissecting how Strategic Communications play a crucial role in planning.



On camera mock media interviews in the afternoon with focus on answering questions, talking points, redirects, and of course preparedness. Great time to hone the skills of every PIO and agency head.


Show and tell on preparedness kits and PIO go readiness kits.

PC: E. Creech

PC: E. Creech

Including my famous “PIO stick”

PC: J. Beckett

PC: J. Beckett

Looking forward to day-2!




More Emergency Management interviews at #IAEM16

It was super fun to interview Jody today at the 2016 International Association of Emergency Management Conference.


Emergency Management Officer Jody Hodge from the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency (Alabama)

Why is Jody so awesome?

Yeah, we talked about preparedness, talked about disaster kits, talked about natural disasters…But to close the interview, he said “Aloha y’all!”

Reporting live from #IAEM16



How Emily Austen got fired in ~25 min bec of FacebookLive #SMEM #PIO Safety-PIO-SM-16-003

Fox Sports reporter Emily Austen made the news…yes, she was the news this week when she FUBARed her career on FacebookLive. (If it helps, fast forward to 25:33)

Wait, did Emily just say “Like, I didn’t even know Mexicians were that smart.”




Fox Network immediately fired her because of her comments on FacebookLive. Let that sink in for a moment. Fox Network fired her for all the inappropriate comments in this unaffiliated FacebookLive broadcast.

Yeppers-you can get fired for stuff you do on social media.

To be fair to her, Austen did post a statement about it here.

But, to add more fuel to this fire, here’s a story about it from Complex News.

Again, I repeat:

  • You can lose your job over a picture.
  • You can lose your job over a 140-characters (tweet).
  • And yes, you can lose your main job on a couch during a live broadcast.

All thanks to social media.

For more case studies on others who lost their jobs because of social media, check out this link.

In this case, what would have helped?

  1. Not saying dumb things.
  2. A behind the scenes PIO to help coordinate conversation.
  3. Sticking to the “script” of the interview/session.
  4. Professionally maintaining topic relevance and choice of words.
  5. Sticking to communications strategy and abiding by identified corporate Policy/Procedures and SOPs/SOGs.

Or just straight up – don’t say inappropriate things.

Now phleeeze – go out there and use your social media live broadcasting powers for good!