Media First Response Consultation to Offset Psychological Risks for Communities during Crises: An Update
Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD
Rodney L. Lowman, PhD
June Wilson, PhD, RN
The Fall/Winter 2014 Amplifier Magazine had the first report on the training called Media First Response (MFR; https://div46amplifier.com/2014/12/11/make-a-difference-media-first-response-is-crisis-media-consultation-for-community-leaders-and-journalists/) being sponsored by APA Divisions 46, 13 (Consulting), 17 (Counseling), and 48 (Peace). MFR preparedness aims for socially just, stress buffering crisis communication that diffuses rather than escalates potentially incendiary situations for communities at-risk for crises. MFR training aims to prepare local journalists and officials for the global stage as worldwide connectivity amplifies local occurrences to global outlets. This follow-up report relays important developments in the training sequence and curriculum.
Most notably, a gradient sequence launches MFR training. The 2015 training is small and intensive. Its goal is to train small group trainers for the 2016 Denver, CO APA Convention. At the 2016 conference, a larger MFR training occurs with 50 participants from across the United States.
At APA 2015 in Toronto, Canada, a group of 10 selected psychologists and media professionals participate and evaluate extensively the training curriculum and their subsequent hometown networking experiences. With an international trainee already involved in the training, multicultural considerations will also figure prominently. The 2015 trainees’ evaluations may substantially contour the 2016 Denver full training curriculum and subsequent networking.
The 2016 MFR trainees will be nominated and sponsored by state psychology associations. In Denver, the 2016 goal is for at least 50 trainees, one representing each state. Then, a nationwide network of MFR psychologists will prepare local journalists and community officials. International trainees will increase this group size.
Consultation skills and ethics of consultation are key components of MFR training. MFR stresses the significance of disseminating relevant crisis containment information in the right way. Raising consciousness about social injustice challenges MFR psychologists to partner with journalists and community disaster officials. As partners these consultation groups develop information dissemination policies with the shared aims of their mass messages promoting community good and global good.
MFR 2015 Training Syllabus
PART ONE: Cognitive MFR
MFR Introduction (Risk Communication & Disaster Management)
Contextualizing vs. Profiling
15 minute break
PART TWO: Behavioral MFR
Crisis Stress Management
Consulting/Networking Ethics and Skills
Evaluation occurs before and after the MFR training. Before the training the selected trainees submit online a baseline of content (trauma-by-television, ethnic/racial bias, crisis Internet connectivity), cognitive MFR skills (framing, contextualizing, and compartmentalization), and behavioral MFR skills (stress management, consulting/networking, and evaluation). Then, at the conclusion of the training, a post-test evaluation occurs in the classroom to measure education and change.
Subsequently, three monthly (August, September, October) online follow-ups occur when these 10 trainers return to their hometowns. These follow-ups track and evaluate the networking/consultation with local journalists and officials. These journalists and officials are given the identical evaluations online before and in person after their training to determine the effectiveness of the MFR training.
A future evaluation will determine the community effects of MFR preparedness.
Author Note: Please do contact the first author if you would like more information or are interested in becoming involved.
Positive Media & Technology
Chair: Dana Klisanin, PhD
The Positive Media & Technology SIG, started in 2013, focuses on the use of media and digital technologies to help individuals, families, communities, and societies thrive. Topics of interest to the SIG include the use of media and digital technologies for promoting and strengthening ethics (e.g., values and virtues), character, talents, effective problem solving skills, and resilience. The SIG is intended to complement traditional areas of media psychology to further the study of how media and digital technologies can promote positive human development to help create a better global community.