Crisis Communications: Avoid These Mistakes

July 2014 | 0 Comments  Average 0 out of 5

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To survive a crisis, education administrators must develop thick skin and show fortitude, said Michael Fineman, president of Fineman PR in San Francisco. “You may have to accept some early brickbats from know-it-all commentators,” he said. “Just understand that in the end you will have the chance to get your point of view across and your side of the story told.”

He recommends that institutions avoid these mistakes when telling their story to the media:

  • Do not discuss the legal ramifications of the crisis, which include responsibility and liability.
  • Do not provide unnecessary information.
  • Do not speculate. Stick to written, counsel-approved messages with known facts.
  • Do not release the names of any injured person until notifying next of kin.
  • Do not say, “No comment,” “I am not allowed to talk,” “I can’t tell you anything,” “I don’t have time to talk to you,” or “The darn thing blew sky high.”
  • Do not allow misinformation to go unchallenged.
  • Do not put anything in writing, including emails, that you don’t want to see in the next day’s newspaper.

In addition, offer an escort to any members of the media visiting your campus.

— Margo Vanover Porter


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