June 22, 2018
Hearst Communications Inc., is a leading American Mass Media company based in New York City, with more than 20,000 employees, including reporters, journalists and other editorial and broadcast media personnel.
But when Hearst broadcast media personnel covered the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention in the most recent presidential election cycle, it came face-to-face with a massive challenge: it was impossible to know in advance where security issues would arise that could potentially impact deadlines for reporting and logistical operations for broadcast media coverage (which in turn could impact ratings and breaking media coverage).
Hearst needed a means to anticipate security situations, as well as communicate situations to broadcast team members. It was important to Hearst to avoid dedicating resources to reacting to incidents, which could disrupt operations and result in lost media coverage opportunities. Instead, the company desired to leverage their personnel on the ground to gain threat intelligence and proactively prevent potential incidents that could keep the broadcast teams from getting their jobs done.
Using LiveSafe, a leading mobile safety communications platform and risk mitigation tool, approximately 150 company reporters and other editorial and broadcast media personnel who were working to cover the Conventions were able to stay connected through a customized mobile application.
The solution allowed employees to share risk and security insights they encountered in real time with Hearst security personnel. It also allowed Hearst security to share safety updates, increasing the situational awareness of the editorial teams on the ground. Using the situational awareness and intelligence gained from LiveSafe, teams were able to navigate around restricted access points, protest activity and changing security checkpoints, and communicate best locations to station trucks.
LiveSafe Force-Multiplied Hearst Capabilities at the Conventions
- LiveSafe set up geofenced alerts, notifications and communications around the physical areas involved in the Conventions. On-the-ground security updates were broadcast to the employees who were directly impacted within this geofenced physical vicinity.
- LiveSafe created a custom user group to connect the 150+ personnel who came together to cover the event, hailing from news operations and organizations across the company and the country.
- Hearst security was able to monitor the Convention Centers, gather insights, increase situational awareness using the crowd-sourced intelligence from the LiveSafe user group, and communicate security updates to the user group.
- The Hearst security team was able to exchange information with the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI in real time.
Using LiveSafe, Hearst was able to avoid operational setbacks at the Conventions and mitigate potential security issues for its staff. Personnel on the ground and security staff benefited from better communication, and increased situational awareness resulted in the ability to attain more effective coverage and competitive advantage.
“We were able to put the print together with the broadcasters who typically and historically have never seen their worlds as the same; you know one could criticize that, if one just looked at the media organizations disruption,” said Eve Burton, SVP & Chief Legal Officer at Hearst. “But here we had, all of a sudden, a business solution that had a security component, that integrated the two—and it actually allowed us to be sure that the number of stories, and the quality of the stories were actually better than the competitors, because they were still figuring out where to get into the convention centers,” she said.
“Whether your job [at Hearst] is to be concerned about the safety of people, the cost of the truck, the insurance that takes care of business disruption, getting ratings on the air, being sure that you keep your towers up so that you’re on the air—that whole group of people came together and began to see that security is actually an imperative to business,” Burton said.
Co-founded by Kristina Anderson, the most injured survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting, LiveSafe enables business enterprises and college campuses to leverage the safety and security observations of their employees. It gives employees and students the capability to deliver actionable intelligence on emerging threats.
Community-sourced intelligence that can shift an organization’s security posture from reaction to prevention is now a reality with LiveSafe. We all have a role to play in preventing incidents from happening. And now we all have a way to make a difference.
About Dan: Dan Verton is a Homeland Security Subject Matter Expert & Content Writer at LiveSafe. He is also an award-winning journalist, former military intelligence officer, and author of Left of Boom: The Citizen’s Guide to Detecting and Preventing Terrorist Attacks.