(Banner graphic of PRSA 2017 International Conference logo)

PRSA 2017 International Conference

The Spirit of Revolution: Communications in the 21st Century

Oct. 8–10 | Boston

Note: You are browsing information about a previous PRSA International Conference. Visit the program page for this year’ event.

"Rules, What Rules?" Crisis Response During the Boston Bombings

Professional Development Workshop Set 4

After nearly 12 years with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Jerry Berger, director, media relations, found himself in the midst of an unprecedented event. Out of the reported 264 people injured in the Boston Marathon Bombing on Monday, April 15, 24 people were taken to the hospital.

The crisis escalated at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, April 19, when Berger received his first page from the hospital, alerting participants on the emergency management team about a potential situation.

At 3 a.m., management beckoned him to the office. Berger instinctively realized what was happening: Authorities had suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in custody and they were en route to Beth Israel. He was pronounced dead 15 minutes after arrival.

However, “things really got crazy” later that night, Berger said, after police took the second suspect, Tamerlan’s brother, Dzhokhar, into custody. The authorities also brought him to the hospital’s emergency center.

Hear how Berger and his team:

Session Materials

Final Presentation

(Available to registered attendees only. Register now!)


Jerry Berger, director, media relations, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Photo of Jerry Berger

Berger leads a team strong in multimedia, social media and crisis communications. Berger was Massachusetts Statehouse Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a spokesman for the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee. As an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, he served as editor-in-chief of Insuring American Health in 2000. Berger holds degrees from Boston University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.