10.2 The Multimedia Assistance in Spanish (MAS) Program

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 10:45 AM
Ballroom E (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Orlando Bermudez, NOAA/NWS, New Braunfels, TX; and J. W. Zeitler

The Multimedia Assistance in Spanish (MAS) program utilizes the Virtual Operations Support concept by requesting aid for Spanish television and radio interviews and social media aid in Spanish when forecast offices anticipate being overwhelmed due to high impact weather. MAS utilizes the expertise of fellow National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists with social media and broadcast interview expertise who also can translate between English and Spanish,. The Spanish Support Team (SST) has three main purposes: 1) aid an office by providing assistance in data-mining and crowdsourcing relevant information from the various social media outlets, 2) help translate talking points for major events in Spanish, and 3) be available for Spanish television and radio interviews.

MAS works in five simple steps:
1. When expecting a major weather event, a National Weather Service office can request support from the Spanish Support Team by submitting an activation request form from the MAS Google site.

2. Spanish Support Team volunteers clear participation with their local management to assist while on duty. If approved, they follow the activation instructions in the request email. If no volunteers are available, the requesting weather forecast office continues with their standard operating procedures.

3. Volunteers check in and coordinate with the requesting office’s designated social media liaison in the “mas_coord” chat room. The National Weather Service Chat Room allows to have text conversations between the social media liaison and the volunteers to collaborate and discuss action items.

4. Once coordinated, the volunteers scour social media channels for reports pertinent to the office in need. This allows the social media liaison at the requesting office to focus on the office’s outgoing social media messages (e.g., warning information, forecast changes, storm details). National Weather Service volunteers will also be available to help with Spanish television and radio interviews.

5. The social media liaison will indicate when the event has concluded or aid is no longer required. Any debriefing information is communicated by the volunteers to the liaison.

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