Tag Archives: media

Superstorm Sandy: Immediate Approaches to Consider

Sandy photo, NASACorporate communicators may be wondering how to support either emergency communications to employees/customers, or humanitarian efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Here’s a quick list of top approaches to consider:


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Headwinds: Correcting the Record on Broadcast News

“First, admit you’ve made a mistake.”

This is one of the axioms that crisis management hawks, magpies, peacocks and parrots typically offer when capitalizing on the latest crisis du jour.   Often, these pundits flock to broadcast media to provide requisite talking-head “expert opinion” that helps to legitimize a common media storyline – that a company is bungling its crisis management response by resisting a public apology and acknowledging a mistake.

The irony here is thick, because much of broadcast media itself does not live up to that axiom.

Check out this excellent article in The New York Times, where David Carr deftly draws a distinction between correction approaches of print vs. broadcast media that distort or misreport a story.  Although print media does a slightly better job of correcting the record, his report acknowledges significantly heavier headwinds when broadcast media misrepresents the facts during a crisis situation.

Why?  Here’s a key callout:


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Reputation pitfalls of demand-based journalism


A Ketchum colleague recently shared this post from the Chief Product Officer of Forbes Media.  In it, she describes the Forbes new model of “Entrepreneurial Journalism,” where freelance writers are paid by the size of the audience they attract.

I’m a loyal Forbes subscriber, but I’m disappointed with the direction here.  I believe this will have negative implications for crisis management.

Why?  Several reasons:

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The bridge from nowhere

If you’ve been through a communications coaching or media training session, it’s likely you’ve heard the importance of this formula when asked a difficult question:

Answer  →  Bridge  →  Message

During coaching sessions I’ve conducted, I’ll often get asked “Is this what politicians do?”  My stock answer:  “Some adopt this formula.  Many do not answer the questions, however.  They simply bridge to their messages regardless of the questions.  And you shouldn’t do that.”

This week, Rep. Anthony Weiner provides a vivid example of why “bridging from nowhere” is not recommended:

The public is tiresome of these shenanigans.  It’s spin.  I suspect most news outlets will only take a representative seven-second clip from this.  Kudos for ABC News for showing the entire interview.  In doing so, the public can see how Weiner tries several times to completely avoid the questions, often using the same (weak) bridges. 

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More Qantas/Rolls-Royce problems; more Jaques’ perspectives

Last November, Qantas was thrust into the spotlight for an emergency landing seemingly caused by one of its Rolls-Royce engines.  Recently, the airline has faced a few more incidents involving Rolls-Royce engines. 

Once again, I reached out to Australian blogger and crisis management expert Tony Jaques for more perspectives on the situation.  Following is a summary of our dialogue:

J.D.:  What is the media/public sentiment in Australia right now — any scrutiny pointed at the airline or the engine manufacturer?  Any notable public anger or fear of flying?

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