Emergency Administration and Management
School of Community Education and Professional Development


Course Number:           EAM 4993

Course Title:                  Public Information for Emergency Managers

Instructor:                      Richard Ihde, M.Ed.
                                          Work phone: 501 - 964 - 5778
                                          Home phone: 501 - 968 - 5803

Course Description:

As a member of an emergency organization your first task will always be to respond to emergencies. A vital part of that response comes later when members of the media arrive to do their job of informing the public about the situation you are dealing with. Contrary to what most believe, the media is not your enemy and can be a useful tool in times of distress. This course will teach you to understand the job of any media person who should arrive on the scene. It will teach you what you need to know to prepare in advance for their arrival and to do a credible job of handling a media interface situation. You will also be practicing presentation skills to allow you to better communicate in news conference situations.

There is also an aspect to public information that is just as important as responding to an emergency. That is providing information directly to the public for their consumption and edification on a regular basis. This course will cover the basics of such things as Power Point presentations, informational brochures and basic web sites.


No text book will be used. We will use selected readings from internet web sites including the following among others:

Investigative Journalism in Melanisia

The Power of Narrative

How to Deal with the Media at the Olympics

How to Deal with the Media

Presentation Skills for Emergency Managers

Seven Aspects of a Dynamic Presentation

Press Release Writing

Writing and Sending Press Releases

Course Objectives:

The student will explore the tasks and objectives of the working press.
The student will learn the informational needs of reporters working on a story.
The student will prepare emergency information to meet reporters needs.
The student will learn how to sucessfully deal with the media on a daily basis.
The student will learn to interact with the media during an emergency.
The student will learn how to present emergency information to the media.
The student will learn to organize and conduct a news conference.
The student will formulate and disseminate accurate news releases.
The student will use proper presentation techniques during dissemination.
The student will learn how to prioritize emergency information.
The student will learn effective question response methods.
The student will learn to place information into several formats.


Weekly assignments 25 points
Quizzes 50 points
Class Projects 100 points

Class projects will be assigned during the course of the semester and assessed based on preparation and execution. The project should reflect current levels of knowledge and illustrate techniques being learned. Each project will be worth 100 points. The number of projects is yet to be determined. All students will be expected to participate in discussions and actively support fellow students during presentations.

Final grades will based on the percentage of total points earned.

90% to 100% A
80% to 90% B
70% to 80% C
60% to 70% D
Less than 60% F


Attendance will be critical since much of the course will be hands on and consist of many in-class activities. Contact the instructor by e-mail if the occasion should arise that you must be absent.