Interaction with news media within major organizations used to be a mission to be assigned to the leadership and to dedicated professionals entitled to speak on behalf of the organization. The evolving nature of news media and the development of Social Media made it vital for organizations to expand media awareness to all the staff levels. This impies a certain level of media training. However, media interaction is only one aspect of relations with media. Strategic Communication plans must take into consideration first what the organization says by its actions far before looking at the best narrative to describe those actions. This requires a continuous awareness in the leading staff of what perceptions are projected by news media so as to adapt the course of action in real time.
This was the concept behind the decision taken by major military organizations, long time ago, to include in their exercises also modules that replicate the anticipated media environment. It is common practice to find, within major military command post exercises, specialised teams called SIMPRESS whose aim is to provide a realistic and interactive simulated media environment, tailored to the exercise scenario. Those teams usually comprise experienced reporters or press officers as well as sound, video, graphic, and internet experts able to reproduce the entire mix of news coverage from the local to the global level, depending on the nature of the exercise. In major exercises the SIMPRESS team is divided in sub-teams that operate at the various command levels, down to the field or at sea.
Usually the same team acts also as media trainers, taking advantage of the exercise incidents to train specific staff members in properly interacting with news media.
SIMPRESS used by the miltary consitutes a model that should be adopted by all the major organizations that are likely to be in the spotlight either for day-to-day communication or during crisis communication.