By Sgt. Lena Wakayama
| 63rd Readiness Division | Nov. 2, 2018
Soldiers and civilians with Fort Hunter Liggett attend a Media 101 Training on post Oct. 25. The purpose of the training is to educate the people who work on post on how to interact with media. The half-day training involved a lecture portion and also gave trainees the chance to put what they learned to practice by participating in mock press conferences and getting interviewed by real members of the local media. (Photo by Sgt. Lena Wakayama)
The introduction of the training came to be in part due to that incident.
“Most Army Reserve units don’t really have to worry about the media, but here, since it’s such a large post and there’s so much training going on, we need this training,” said Lt. Col. Jason R. McKenzie, the deputy commander for Fort Hunter Liggett and a participant of the training. “People need to know that they could be stopped at any moment because they’re connected to the post, and they need to know how to answer questions appropriately or at least know who to direct questions to.”
Participants of the training also had the opportunity to ask questions of and interact with members of the local media.
“The last thing you want to be is blindsided,” said Tom Wilmer, a correspondent with KCBX and host of the podcast Journeys of Discovery With Tom Wilmer. “That’s a really important reason why training ahead of time is so important.”
Wilmer cautioned against falling for “tantalizing questions that you’re going to want to answer,” and instead focus on staying on message.
The garrison plans on conducting this training multiple times a year to train their workforce, according to McKenzie.
“We’re going to learn from our mistakes, and it’s better to learn while we’re training that when we’re actually out there in front of reporters,” he said. “This is just like any other training that we do in the Army.”