As explained in your textbook, crisis communications has its own set of principles, including the provision of accurate, timely information; expressing concern for the safety of lives; protecting the organization’s assets; and acting as a good corporate or community citizen. Put another way in informal guidelines, “Tell it all, tell it fast; put people first, don’t win the war and lose the peace,” and the old adage, “Don’t do battle with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” In other words, work closely with the media to be sure they get accurate, timely information, and don’t worry about insignificant errors or omissions.
For this Assignment, first identify in your Weekly News Review a story that is clearly the result of some crisis or emergency. Keep in mind that some crises do not start out as such but build slowly over time. You will gain more from the Assignment if the situation incorporates an industry or organization related to the optional textbook chapter you chose. Situations suitable for this Assignment would include an industrial accident, a product recall or product safety issue, a politician or leader who has made a serious error, a local government service that has failed (such as a fire department in a fatal fire), a nonprofit organization facing a scandal such as embezzlement or malfeasance on the part of a top leader, or a business facing bankruptcy. This is by no means an inclusive list. You may have other ideas as well.
In a 3- to 5-page written document, complete the following:
- Compare what you read or can safely infer from the story with the Emergency Public Relations Checklist in Chapter 12 of the text.
- Describe the situation in light of the four guidelines for crisis management.
- Describe any weaknesses you see in the organization’s handling of public relations in the situation.