Managing Media Key After Newtown Massacre

Lt. J. Paul Vance said the influx of media during the tragedy was beyond anyone's comprehension.


Informing the Victims' Families

Vance stressed that while it was important to maintain control over the information given to the media, the number one priority was to inform the victims' families of what was occurring as they arrived on scene.

Within two hours of the shooting, efforts were made to assign a Connecticut State trooper to each of the 26 families.

"The intent here was several things. First, they needed to be informed first of anything involving this case as it moved forward. Secondarily, their trooper could obtain the answer to any question they might have relative to anything to do with this case."

He said that the troopers served as the "umbilical cord" from the victims' families to the investigation.

"We did not want them to see or hear anything in the media or from any other source after the public had been informed," he said. "We wanted them to be on the front line and know exactly what was happening and what was going on during the entire investigation operation."

Vance said that it was a very efficient operation and was a "heartbreaking" experience for the troopers assigned to that duty.

It was also imperative that the residents of Newtown were kept informed of the investigation.

"Initially the people in the community wanted to know that they were safe; that we were not looking for people who may have been responsible for this tragic event," he said. "We needed to then make sure that the people were fully informed as much as we could."

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