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Policy Statement 300 - Media Interaction Following Catastrophic Failures

 

Approved by the Public Policy Committee on February 19, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

Policy

To ensure that information disseminated immediately following natural disasters or catastrophic failures involving civil engineering works is complete, thorough, and accurate, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will cooperate with established news media. Media includes traditional newspapers, radio stations, television networks, magazines, online news publications, and trade publications. Following catastrophic failures, ASCE must adhere to the guidelines below:

  • The ASCE Government Relations office shall initiate and coordinate all messaging to provide timely and factual information to media requests;
  • All ASCE contacts with media shall follow the established ASCE Protocol for Media Outreach; and
  • Individuals who respond to local media inquiries outside of this Policy must identify their statements as an individual and cannot represent ASCE in this instance.

Issue

ASCE society leaders, executive staff, Section and Branch officers, and individual members are often called upon to respond to media requests for statements after catastrophic failures and natural disasters. As the professional society representing civil engineers in industry, government, education and private practice, ASCE has an ethical obligation to the public to ensure that information disseminated regarding natural disasters or catastrophic failures of civil engineering works is accurate, coordinated, and timely.  

Rationale

ASCE is viewed by the news media as a reliable and respected source of information regarding infrastructure. ASCE is frequently called upon to respond to media inquiries. Uncoordinated contact with the media may result in dissemination of incomplete, inappropriate, inaccurate, or out-of-policy information to important audiences. This incoordination may also result in missed opportunities to cross-market and achieve communication goals for ASCE programs and activities. 

ASCE Policy Statement 300
First Approved in 1985

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