people jump out of perfectly good airplanes to get their
kicks and some bungee jump from skyscrapers. For a real
adrenaline rush, try taking on the media during a
feeding frenzy in a corporate crisis.
can see it in their eyes. The very hint of a corporate
scandal has their palms go damp and their nostrils
flare. No, we aren't talking about the media - we're
talking about the "handlers" - the people who
get paid to keep stories out of the paper.
responsibility of efficiently handling a media crisis
can be overwhelming to most executives. One wrong word
or even the wrong nuance to the wrong person, and the
story can take on a life of its own. An electron
microscope has nothing over the media when a story is in
what does one do to keep the wolves at bay? Before
damage control can be undertaken, damage assessment is
necessary. Minor incidents often become major stories
simply because those charged with answering media
questions do a poor job explaining exactly what happened
- in many cases because they are not fully briefed to begin
a crisis team and performing immediate triage is
crucial. Assign responsibilities to each team member.
Perform an internal investigation to uncover as much
information as possible - before the press does.
Communicate that information across the team and be sure
that the senior executives and board members are briefed
as soon as possible.
media spokespeople to one or two key individuals - those
who can be most trusted to remain circumspect and
honest. Candidly admitting to mistakes can take a lot of
wind out of a potential scandal's sails. Evasions and
euphemisms generally engender more questions and
proactive with the media. If you uncover information
that will become public knowledge anyway, brief the
press. An exclusive interview with a local journalist
will win future PR points and provide your company with
the opportunity to tell its side of the story.
a crisis defense is much like smoke jumping into a
forest fire. It is frightening and you can't always see
the source of the smoke. One must take commands well,
clear brush and obstructions to remove fuel sources,
find the core of the fire and attack it vigorously. Most
people would never want to attempt it, and others only
feel alive when they are about to make the jump.