Guest MINDSETTER™ Dr. Julie Frechette: Digital Media Era Needs Transparency from Police
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Let’s face it. Trust in the police is at an all time low in America because of the recent media coverage of “bad cops” who enact violence on citizens. While this concern is both real and tragic, it’s also the case that increased use of social media has led to speculative and subjective stories that increase tension among communities. In light of this, police leaders need to work with news media to reach the public in a way that enables them to communicate effectively in good times, and not just in times of crisis. It also means that they will need to earn trust from members of the public by being proactive through social media.
I teach graduate courses in Social Media Marketing and Communication at Clark University, and a few semesters ago, I had the PR director from the Sheriff’s office take the course with tremendous success. Why? She and her supervisor, Sherriff Lew Evangelidis, understood that the key to building trust is to share news and information with the public.
In the Digital Age, a lot of people get their news and information from news websites and social media. Police leaders who want to establish credibility and integrity cannot afford to ignore these channels if they want to succeed. Organizations and PR departments used to worry about TV news channels providing constant news 24 hours a day. Now members of the public can potentially be the ones to break news stories and events all the time while offering their own photos, videos and anecdotes.
So should police leaders fear this change? Absolutely not. The Digital Age brings challenges and opportunities for police leaders to develop an effective working relationship with local media and the public. The goal is to embrace the media and the groundswell, and learn how to use the media effectively. As with our interpersonal relations that require us to be honest, open, and transparent, so is the growing trend with social media whereby the public won’t settle for anything less than transparency and the truth. The most precious assets for police are their connections with members of the public they serve. That means opening up lines of communication by working with local media and key community groups.
- Should Worcester Police Be Subject to Civilian Review Board?
- Should Worcester’s City Officials Be More Transparent When Making Decisions?
- State Rep McKenna: More Transparency and Accountability Needed in State Government
- Fresolo Investigation: How Transparent is MA Government?
- NEW: MA Gets A- Grade For Government Spending Transparency
- MA Legislature Hit With Failing Grade For Transparency
- Dr. Ravi Perry: Worcester Needs More Transparency in City Hall
- Worcester Crime Trends and Lack of Police Transparency
- Local Media Still Battle for Transparency with Worcester Police Chief Gemme