Defining Crises Communications
A crisis is a situation or emergency that poses a significant risk—or opportunity—for the organization and public trust, and attracts widespread public and media attention.
It may involve:
• Internal disaster (e.g. fire or accident)
• External disaster (e.g. natural disaster)
• Major media coverage
• Operational processes
• Business or organizational partners
• Clients or customers
Crises require special communication efforts because:
• The stakes are higher;
• A far greater quantity of communications is required;
• Of the attention they attract, ...view middle of the document...
Media/Public Inquiry Guidelines: General Rules
• Provide basic information on who, what, when, where, why and how.
• Don’t make “off the record” comments. There is no such thing as “off the record” in a crisis.
• If a reporter asks a question, he/she is generally entitled to an answer. Answer questions honestly, bridging back to the three or four key messages we must convey.
• Don’t assign blame. Address the problem.
• Don’t debate the subject. Don’t argue with the media about the value of a story.
• Don’t overreact, exaggerate the situation or demonstrate a great deal of emotion with the media. Do express sympathy, if appropriate.
• Do not say “no comment.” It sounds as if you’re hiding information. Answer to the best of your ability.
• Tell the truth, even if it hurts. Credibility is critical—and can be completely lost with one misleading statement.
• Don’t speculate.
• Protect the record
▪ If you make a mistake, correct it.
▪ If you are misquoted, correct the record verbally and in writing.
▪ Only correct significant inaccuracies.
• Don’t repeat negative or inflammatory words used by a reporter. It might end up as part of your quote or sound bite.
• Talk from the viewpoint of your audiences.
• Avoid jargon and technical terms.
• Keep messages clear and consistent.
• Make your message concise and therefore memorable.
When to Prepare Organizational Announcements/Statements
• Immediately upon hearing of a crisis
• After the first assessment of the situation
• Upon new information about new details and activities undertaken to alleviate the problems
• When the situation is under control, and steps taken to avoid future situations of this nature.
News Conference, News Release or One-on-One Response?
A. Hold a news conference when:
• You have new, important information and sufficient information for an extended Q&A session
• There is great media interest. Unattended news conferences are bad PR.
• There is great demand by media for individual interviews, and not enough time to honor all requests.
• There is a good, credible spokesperson.
• There is an adequate facility.
B. Issue a news release/statement when:
• The news is not big enough to warrant a news conference.
• There is not time to call and arrange a news conference.
• You do not wish to comment or engage in extended Q&A.
• You wish to reach people beyond those able to attend a news conference.
C. Respond to individual inquiries when:
• There is not sufficient news to warrant a release.
• There is not great media interest in an event or situation and you wish to downplay its coverage.
Updating and Revising Information
• Release data as it becomes available to...