When working with media in a crisis situation, there are some basic communication guidelines to follow. They won’t make the negative news go away, but will significantly shorten the time the story spends near the top of the news cycle and go a long way toward preserving relationships/audiences you had prior to the crisis:
- Tell what you know
- Tell it when you know it
- Be honest
- Be accessible (never use “no comment,” it will be perceived as guilt)
- If appropriate, apologize for your actions and anyone hurt by them
- Tell what you will be doing moving forward to insure this type of situation doesn’t happen again
Remember, the media is going to report the story with or without your cooperation, so it is best they get information from the source instead of finding others to speculate.
Your goals should be:
- To get out “in front” of the news
- To maintain (some) control of information that is published/posted/aired
- To have your messages included in the coverage
- To be perceived by media and the general public as in control of an unfortunate situation
You listening, Tiger Woods?