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UT Sample Public Information Officer Statement

Public Information Officers (PIOs) are the spokespersons of crisis. That is, when something terrible happens and a newspaper or media outlet needs to cite an "official in charge," the PIO steps in with the quote. Fire chiefs and corporate spokespersons are good examples.

Public universities also delegate PIO authority in case of an emergency, and I found this "Sample PIO Response to Inquiries" buried in the UT Web site. I later printed it out and put it in The Daily Texan, which is where this document is taken from, but the original can be found in its primary form here.

At any rate, you can download the document, or admire its emotionless devastation (with my emphasis added) below:

This is what we can confirm at the present time:

At approximately (time) we experienced a (brief description). At this point we cannot accurately tell you the extent of the damage or injuries other that to say that it has involved (Specific building, facilities-if known) and (number) people. Their names and conditions will not be disclosed until next of kin have been notified. We have requested emergency assistance from (AFD, EMS, etc.) and have notified our management. (If appropriate) They have asked that members of the media stay in touch with (OPA or other designated spokesperson, location, phone) so they can be briefed as soon as additional information is available.

If you are asked additional questions, make the following statement: That is all I can confirm at the present time. I am sure you understand we all are very busy trying to deal with this situation, and we'll need your patience for a few hours. As soon as we have more information that has been confirmed, it will be disclosed to the public via the news media. Anything involving the students, faculty, and staff will be disclosed to their families and loved ones first. That will be handled by (the Office of Public Affairs, Employee Assistance Program, Human Resource Services, the Office of Student Affairs). They have been alerted and are en route to assist us at the scene. Please bear with us in the meantime.

download these documents
[pio_statement.pdf, 705 KB]