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Talking to the Media

Because of the ongoing Long War, the media has focused attention on the military like never before. With their Marines and Sailors away, family members may become the focus of new reporters during our upcoming deployment. The media is increasingly attracted to the story of those left behind and how they are coping with life on the home front. Families should keep in mind the following guidelines for dealing with reporters. These are basic, common sense rules to ensure your right to privacy is not violated. Families are encouraged to call their local Public Affairs Office for advice. When Dealing with Media, Remember the Following:

1. Command information is not for release. Information you are given by the MEU such as the phone numbers or addresses of other families are never to be given out. These are for personal planning purposes only.

2. You decide whether or not to be interviewed by the media. They can sometimes be persistent or intimidating, but cannot force you to be interviewed, and you have no obligation to speak with them. You can also stop an interview at any time.

3. If you do agree to be interviewed, it is not recommended you conduct the interview in or near your home. Maintain your privacy as much as possible.

4. Discuss only those matter for which you have direct responsibility or personal knowledge. Never discuss rumors, and avoid the temptation to exaggerate or speculate.

5. Don't lie to mislead a reporter. If you don't know an answer, aren't sure, or can't comment for security reasons, say so. Avoid the phrase 'no comment.' Just say 'I don't know.'

6. Be concerned for operational security. Don't discuss specific operational capabilities or future plans of the unit. Information you receive via the Key Volunteer Network is for the benefit of the families only, and shouldn't be discussed with reporters.

7. When asked a question, don't answer right away. Take a minute to sit back and think your answers through.

8. Journalists may come across as caring and friendly, but remember, they are trying to do a job, and that job entails getting information from you. Nothing is ever 'off the record.'

9. For advice, call the 24th MEU Public Affairs Office at 910-451-0614.