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Media Advisory - FlashBite
07/14/2008
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

During the next 2 months Oregon State Police (OSP) will be testing a new resource offered by Flashnews (the Internet distribution service used by OSP to send out news releases) called "FlashBite".
 
"FlashBite" is a sound recording made over a special phone number that is converted to a data file and distributed to media similar to how our news releases are distributed on their Internet service. Last week when a dangerous State Hospital forensic patient escaped, OSP used this to help provide a voice recording about the escape to go out in conjunction with a news release. It was then followed up with a second recording to advise the media that the escaped patient was in custody, because when the OSP PIO was notified he was in his car and unable to send out a written news alert and wanted to make sure the word got out quickly. This helped to avoid having to make numerous phone calls to different media paging the PIO so they could get a sound bite or some basic information on what was happening.
 
"FlashBite" goes out on their Emergency Channel (the same link used for brief emergency notifications such as highway closures or major incident notification) and is accessible via the link in the email. When a "FlashBite" alert is sent, it will not have a heading indicating what it is about because it is done over the phone. If the "FlashBite" is related to a sent news release, OSP will try to put some wording in the news release advising a "FlashBite" is (or was) sent. This will help connect the two releases of information.
 
The "FlashBite" clears each day on their normal cycle (8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.) but will stay in their system for at least a month.
 
OSP plans to use the service conservatively but sees its value when a PIO is on scene or away from a computer and needs to provide important sound bite information because of the seriousness or emergent nature of the incident. OSP does not plan to use it for all news releases just to provide a sound bite or put information out to media because it should not be a replacement for written news releases and answering questions over the phone. OSP will try to use it frequent enough to give the service a true test and accurate evaluation.
 
Some other examples of when OSP may use this service includes:
  • Major highway closed for lengthy periods due to high profile fatal crash, police-involved activity, or other major incident.
  • High media interest story to provide audio sound of OSP news release so it is recorded and available for media use. (Kim Search, AMBER Alert, Endangered Person Advisory, etc …)
  • Other significant incidents when OSP needs to get information, both written and verbal, out quickly.
 
Any input from our media partners during our test and evaluation period will be appreciated.