US airport security shares what they confiscated in 2013
By Will Hoyles on Monday, January 27, 2014
The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) last week provided a useful example of using the everyday operations of your organisation to make an interesting picture story. Published as a lengthy blog on their in-house communications team’s website the TSA summarised their 2013 with a series of pictures of their scariest and most unusual seizures during security checks at US airports. Including the usual array of guns, grenades, knives as well as more unusual items as knives in walking sticks, an unarmed suicide vest and most bizarrely a human skull it makes fascinating reading for those of us who’ve only ever seen belt buckles and watches cause problems as we shuffle through the security checks.
The story understandably got almost blanket coverage in the US but also received a fair bit of international attention – as far afield as Africa and Australia – including in the UK where the story was picked up by the usual fans of picture stories the Metro and Daily Mail as well as the Mirror. Interestingly it doesn’t appear to have become a Buzzfeed story yet but surely ’17 weird things people tried to take on planes in 2013′ will appear shortly, extending the story’s life further.
The TSA doesn’t have the best relationship with US travellers who tend to fly a lot more than the rest of the world and see the added security checks as a major inconvenience and 2013 also marked the first time a TSA officer was killed in the line of duty. So, creating a viral story like this that reinforces the importance of their work can only help to improve their relationship with passengers, and presumably head off any attempts to cut their funding.