- Emmy Award-winning network producer with 15 years of journalism experience, 10 in network news
- CNN Producer (1995-2005) - Emmy for CNN’s 9/11 coverage
- Field producer for FOX News
- Co-founder and principal of NewsReadyNow providing training for professionals who find themselves speaking in front of a camera for broadcast news, YouTube or Skype or preparation for crisis management
- All 7 Best Practices
- Pre-Call Discovery Process
- One-on-One Call with Expert
- Session Summary Report
- Post-Session Engagement
Media Crisis Management
- Companies and organizations are not prepared and don’t know how to respond when bad news breaks.
Without plans in place to manage media crises, organizations lose valuable time trying to figure out how to respond. They have no idea how to reach out to the media or what channels to use.
You have to address issues immediately. People are going to look for a response, and if they don’t get it from you, they are going to go to one of your rivals, or possibly someone who is uninformed and shouldn't be talking. Every moment that goes by can increase the damage, because bad news spreads quickly.
- Companies and organizations run from the press in a media crisis.
You need to be accessible and out front during a crisis. If you circle the wagons, you'll look like you're hiding something. If journalists are not getting information from you, they will look elsewhere, including your critics.
The bunker strategy just doesn't work.
I tell my clients to avoid saying “no comment,” which comes off as a non-denial and is likely to become a repeated sound bite on the news. If there are legal or other reasons why they can’t answer a question, find another way to say it.
- The wrong person is chosen as the public spokesperson.
Someone who is likable, empathetic and comfortable with the press can help turn a negative situation around. Someone who is defensive, evasive or combative will only make things worse.
You don’t want someone with the wrong disposition and the wrong tone to be out there. What they say will be played and replayed on the news shows. Do you want to end up as a punchline on the Jon Stewart show?
After his company caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, BP's CEO Tony Hayward was completely tone-deaf when he complained that dealing with the aftermath had disrupted his personal life. He showed zero sympathy for the families of the 11 workers who had been killed or the Gulf Coast communities dealing with the damage. That's what everyone remembers.
- Executives don't understand their company's or organization's digital profile.
Management does not know what is on the company’s social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. One of the first things journalists will do when a crisis breaks is scour the Web looking for information. They might find something that makes the company or an executive look bad in the context of the current situation.
Are there YouTube videos you don't want people to see? Has an executive Tweeted something that was inappropriate? People are going to take all of those things into consideration once you or your company becomes the center of attention. Not knowing what is out there, and failing to have a clean digital footprint, can be really harmful.
- Companies and organizations fail to get ahead of bad news.
If you know bad news is coming, prepare for it. If the information is bound to come out, you are better off disclosing it yourself, with your own spin. If you don't, reporters will dig and dig until they find something negative, and the bad news will dribble out. You'll have a lot of brushfires to fight.
If you reveal it first, you can qualify it in your own way. Otherwise, you are immediately on the defensive and appear to be hiding something.