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Communicating with the Media

The news media is another group we sometimes have trouble communicating with.  The main problem lies in not using them to generate publicity for your team.  The publicity keeps the public informed which in turn can increase your calls.

Good publicity can also make it easier to get more funding for your team, as the supervision will constantly be reminded you are out there producing.  Some points to keep in mind:

  • Invite the media along on recovery operations - Whenever you are going on a newsworthy recovery, invite the media to come along.  Make sure you clear it through your police department first so you don't invite them to something that is still sensitive or secret.

  • Invite the media when you start finding things on training dives - When you are searching bridges or other sites on your training missions and you start finding stolen property, call the media and let them know where you are and what you are finding.  Quite often they are looking for a story and will do a good one about your team and its capabilities.  The secret is to call them after you start finding things, not before.  Why?  Because if they arrive there and you don't find anything, it doesn't look too good for you.

  • Send the media yearly statistical data - Every year, send the media the statistical data on what your team has done that year:  How many bodies you've recovered.  How much property you've recovered (dollar amount). How many murder weapons you've found.  How many cases you've assisted with. How many jurisdictions you've helped.

  • Invite the media to train with you - If you have a SCUBA instructor on your team, consider conducting a Discover SCUBA program for the media.  Have them assist on the boat or as a line tender during execution of a search pattern.


The mistake we make is believing that we always communicate properly, only to find out after reading the paper or talking to supervision that someone was confused or did not understand everything that was said and done.  Sometimes this is not our fault, other times it is.  The key to effective communication is knowing how the communication process works.  Understanding the process enables us to become proficient at communicating.

The picture above is me being interviewed by several TV news teams about 2 stolen vehicles we recovered off of  this boat ramp using a Marine Sonic Side Scan Sonar and several VRS 2000 lift bags to lift them.

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