There was a time when companies attempted to stonewall
the media – to “put a lid” on a potentially negative
breaking story. In today’s media world, trying to limit
the damage of such a story, by withholding information
and spinning, could be even more harmful to the company
than the story itself.
Nowadays, a business should not only be cautious of how
it deals with the media, but be aware that current or
former employees can potentially have an active role in
becoming part of the media via Weblogs. Angry
shareholders or consumers can similarly post their
opinions on a company product or policy. There are just
too many avenues through which information can be leaked
– and once the information is out, it can take on a life
of its own.
How does a business handle potentially damaging
information? As we have discussed (see
article), the only thing to do is to tell the truth.
Place the information in context, without overt
spinning. Be certain of your facts. Back them up with
empirical evidence. Stand firm in your assertions and
What is fundamental at all times is to cultivate
relationships with the most influential journalists that
cover your industry. If you have built strong ties with
each of them, they will consult with you, a trusted
source, to verify information and provide a complete and
accurate story. If you have not established these
relationships already, you would be well advised to find
a seasoned PR pro who has.