Faux Reporting for the Homeland

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is seeking "reporters to participate in TOPOFF 3, a biennial exercise directed by Congress that simulates a terrorist attack on the United States." Ogilvy PR is helping DHS recruit real journalists not currently employed by a news outlet, "to help department officials better understand how the media would respond to a weapon-of-mass-destruction attack." The director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism called the arrangement tricky, "because it raises potential future conflicts even if the reporter doesn't now cover the governmental entity writing the check." He added, "There is a whole industry called public relations staffed with people who used to be journalists" who could participate instead.