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Showing posts from March, 2007

KITV Wins Honor for Earthquake Coverage

KITV has won an Edward R. Murrow Award in the spot news category for its breaking news coverage of the October 15th earthquakes, according to "The Buzz" column in today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

The station was essentially the only TV outlet to perform well on Earthquake Sunday thanks to an emergency generator that provided power during the massive island-wide outage.

The story says there were no Hawaii radio winners -- which should tell you something about radio's performance that day. CHORE began writing about radio's deficiencies one week after the quakes.

With a Final Nod to the Dueling Commentaries, We Await the Next Crisis with High Expectations

Today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin may have given us the final round in the barrage between State Civil Defense and CHORE. (Scroll down the letters column to find CHORE's.)

We hope so; this tiff looks less savory the longer it continues, and there’s no reason to sustain the crossfire. Each side has made its points, but we can’t disguise our satisfaction that the Bulletin today saw fit to print our response to Maj. Gen. Robert Lee’s response to CHORE's original commentary about communications failures on October’s Earthquake Sunday.

This ongoing argument about the adequacy of fixes to the emergency communications system presumably will end when the next crisis arrives. We’ll know then whether our first responders reacted quicker and more effectively than they did five months ago, whether they’ve figured out how to contact radio stations without fail and whether those stations have remained on the air.

Moving Beyond Win-Lose

CHORE isn’t interested in winning an argument if “winning” m…

Attendance at Legislative Briefings Is State CD’s Gauge of Public’s Concern over Communications

We’ve already examined Maj. Gen. Robert Lee’s view (here and here) that there were no communications failures after the October 15th earthquakes. The State’s Adjutant General said in a Honolulu Star-Bulletin commentary that what really happened amounted to an “information delay,” not a failure.

CHORE today turns to State Civil Defense’s second in command to examine why he apparently believes the average citizen isn’t all that concerned about emergency communications.

Vice Director Ed Teixeira was a guest on KIPO’s “Town Square” program on February 22 and said the following while answering a question about the lack of public involvement in assessing how to improve emergency communications:

Teixeira: At the beginning of the year, the Legislature had some information briefings, and there was one particular session left open to public comment, and you know, surprisingly, there were maybe about a dozen or so folks with special needs that stuck around. After two days of briefings, and that …

“Communications Failure” Becomes “Information Delay” in Orwellian World of State Civil Defense

What are we to make of State Adjutant General Robert Lee’s commentary in last Thursday’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin?

Lee’s piece – which some might read as a personal attack on CHORE’s author – reveals an alarmingly tortured view by the State’s top Civil Defense officer of what most of us would call reality.

In his commentary, Lee denies the existence of communications failures that prevented vital information from reaching the public until well after the October 15th earthquakes. “The complaint by Doug Carlson incorrectly claims that ‘communications failures’ followed the earthquake,” Lee writes.

“The ability of State Civil Defense to inform the public that the earthquake had not generated a tsunami was hampered by the loss of the electric power grid, which shut down most news outlets. This was an information delay, not a failure, and it was thoroughly reported in the news media.” (emphasis added)

“It’s Not Our Fault”

In other words, it’s not State Civil Defense’s fault that the public didn’…

Hearing Impaired Need Better Visuals in a Crisis

As promised earlier this week, CHORE is following up here with comments by a representative of the hearing-impaired community at the Honolulu Community Media Council's “Media and Emergency Response” panel discussion.

Before we do that, we call your attention once again to yesterday’s post with our response to State Adjutant General Robert Lee’s commentary that takes issue with just about everything CHORE has written since the October 15th earthquakes:

General Lee Launches Counter-Offensive at
CHORE; We Respond with Defense-in-Depth


You’ll find our long paragraph-by-paragraph response to General Lee below today’s post.

When Will the Hearing Get It?

Deaf interpreter Larry Littleton of Kauai reminded the Media Council audience that communication must not be merely audible. It must be visual, as well.

“In any emergency, I LOOK for information,” he says. “In any emergency, the hearing LISTEN for information. We are both trying to obtain the same thing, in different modes.”

Littleton later …

General Lee Launches Counter-Offensive at CHORE; We Respond with Defense-in-Depth

Major Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Hawaii’s adjutant general and director of State Civil Defense, has a commentary in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin that’s apparently designed to blunt CHORE’s sustained offensive to improve communications to the public during emergencies. (We urge readers to also visit yesterday’s CHORE post, which reported on Tuesday’s “Media and Emergency Response” panel discussion sponsored by the Honolulu Community Media Council.)

Lee’s commentary ends with the following shot, and that’s where our response begins:

Frankly, I don’t understand the purpose of the negative, misdirected attention that Carlson has focused on State Civil Defense. We, along with the county civil defense agencies, the governor's tourism liaison, state Department of Transportation, other state, county and federal agencies, as well as private sector organizations that responded to the earthquake, have been open and honest about what we need to improve. And, as always, we welcome the public's…