Make sure that the newspaper is part of the incident communication plan

We are encouraged to see local agencies and school districts preparing for an active shooter event like the one that so tragically took the lives of nine people at Umpqua Community College on Thursday.

Getting ready for an emergency like that, if you can ever truly be ready, takes partnerships in the community.

As your local newspaper, we would like to be one of those partners.

We hope to never have to report on an event similar to what Roseburg is recovering from now, but if we must, we want to help.

Your local reporters would be able to do that better if you included us in your planning for such emergencies.

We can put out information the community needs to know that you may not have the time to — and with the care you would expect from people who live in the communities affected.

We know it takes time to confirm facts, especially in a situation like this, where lives are at stake.

But the confusion about the age and identity of the shooter and the number of people killed and injured in Roseburg is a prime example of what we can help prevent as the local news source.

In today’s world of the 24-hour news cycle and social media, rumors and outright falsehoods will emerge almost immediately when people want information.

Like what was witnessed in Roseburg last week, local, national and international media organizations will descend on our community. All with a job to do informing readers and viewers about what has happened in their world and lives.

It is our responsibility as writers of the first draft of history to name the suspect, without glorifying his actions. It’s our responsibility to try to reveal his motives and answer the all important question of why something like this could happen.

Instead of treating us like a nuisance or necessary evil, why not use our skills and time for the better?

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