Developing an Effective Crisis Media PlanDocument Transcript
Developing an Effective Crisis Media Plan
5 June 2003
Irrespective of their purpose or the structure, an organisation’s reputation or brand is one of
their most important assets. Organisations constantly strive for greater brand recognition
using public relations and advertising strategies; however, the coverage by the media can be
disappointing. It is therefore ironic, that when a crisis erupts and the media comes knocking
on their door, the first reaction can be ‘No comment’! Every organisation has the potential to
be scrutinised by the media and the public and should be prepared. A media plan, as part of
an organisations crisis management plan, will ensure that the agency will be able to build on
the positive publicity generated by incidents that attract significant media interest.
This paper will examine the advantages of developing a crisis media plan, the issues involved
in formulating a plan and its relationship to the crisis management plan. While this approach
was developed for the emergency response environment, many of the strategies have
relevance to other organisations. Every organisation needs to take every opportunity to
promote their brand and a properly managed crisis can provide such an occasion.
Public relations have been defined as ‘doing the right thing and getting recognised for it’. Ries
A & Ries L (2002), argue that if you are going to build a brand, you need to rely on public
relations, not advertising to do so. Public relations practitioners have a ‘news nose’ that most
marketing people do not have. In other words, they know what kind of ideas and concepts
make news and are able to exploit events to generate publicity for the brand.
However, as has been demonstrated by the unfavourable media coverage of organisations
such as Pan Pharmaceuticals, AMP, NRMA and the Red Cross, not all publicity is good
publicity. One of the main impacts for AMP, NRMA and the Red Cross was the effect that
the crisis had on their previously well-regarded brands. As well as the damage to their
reputations, a badly handled crisis can involve the organisation in legal actions, create
organisational turmoil, lose shareholders' confidence and slash market value, even if the
operational side of the crisis is well handled. Throughout a crisis, community and media
perceptions are invariably based on human emotion triggered by thoughts of risk, loss, drama
and organisational duplicity. An organisation's methods and plans for dealing with an incident
are immaterial to the public – they want assurances that something is being done and that
they are being protected.
During an emergency, while it is tempting for senior executives to ‘lead from the front’ - if
not 'shoot from the hip' - the secret to positive media coverage lies in planning, procedures
and management. Although it may prove opportune for the CEO to provide a limited
number of media grabs, the reality is that management will need to focus on the coordination
of the crisis response and will have little time to devote to the requirements of an almost
insatiable news media.
If an organisation experiences a crisis and has a reputation for poor service, unsatisfactory
industrial relations, high prices and a sinking share price, recovery from the crisis may be
problematic. As the crisis unfolds, any of the affected groups will delight in attacking the
On the other hand, if an organisation has developed a positive reputation, has a responsible
image, supports charitable organisations and a good history of industrial relations, the
community is more likely to make allowances during a crisis. If public perception is that the
organisation is attempting to rectify the problems and informing the public about progress, an
organisation it will be given the time it needs to resolve the situation.
While crises cannot always be avoided, with appropriate preparation they can be managed. An
operational crisis, well handled, doesn't have to escalate to the point of becoming a public
Although Perrott (2001) indicates that 86 percent of major incidents were regarded as being
foreseeable, many companies were not prepared to cope with a significant event. The most
common reasons for management to ignore the warning signs were denial that a crisis can
happen, belief in the current procedures and concerns for the effect disclosure may have on
the reputation of the organisation or the senior management. Although recent public disasters
such as Pan Pharmaceuticals demonstrate the importance of organisations developing a crisis
media plan, recent research reported by Murrell (2000) indicates that many Australian
businesses do not have media contingency strategies.
However, community or media attention does not have to arise from a negative incident.
Media coverage of positive events can also overwhelm an organisation that is not prepared
for the sudden onslaught of media attention and is not able to exploit the marketing or public
relations opportunities to promote their brand.
Crisis Management Plan
Pollock (2002) defines a crisis as an escalating incident that poses a serious threat to the
operation, viability or reputation of an organisation. The aim of the crisis management plan is
to manage the resolution of the incident, the strategic issues and the implications affecting the
organisation as a direct or indirect result of the initial disaster.
While many agencies have prepared business continuity plans, the media management
component is often not addressed adequately. While the crisis management plan should
indicate how the organisation plans to manage the public and media perception of the
organisation, little attention has been devoted to the development of a comprehensive,
integrated, ongoing plan that ensures that over time the agency is perceived as speaking with
authority and emerges with an enhanced public profile.
Crisis Media Plan
What is a crisis media plan and why should an organisation develop and implement such a
plan? One commonly quoted definition is that a problem becomes a crisis when it comes to
the attention of the media! While it is trite to say that every crisis is an opportunity, a disaster
does give an organisation access to boundless amounts of publicity that is normally very
difficult to generate.
The aim of a crisis media plan is to inform the public about the incident, provide community
safety actions, maintain public trust and confidence that the event is being managed
effectively. It should also protect and promote the reputation of the organisation and its
The objectives of the crisis media plan are to:
• Install confidence in the community that agencies are effectively working together in the
• Promote a positive understanding of the response, recovery and mitigation programs in place,
• Provide all target audiences with appropriate access to information about the disaster, and
• Maintain communication with those affected by the disaster.
If your organisation is not able to manage the media’s demands effectively, other groups (or
experts), who are quite willing to push their own interests at your expense, replace organisations
that cannot respond quickly.
Benefits of a Crisis Media Plan
An effective crisis media plan will manage the information agenda through identification of
the likely issues, assembly of the crisis team and development of a crisis plan, including the
procedures and resources.
Perrott (2001) maintains that the benefits of developing a crisis media plan include a better
understanding of the relationship between operational and communication issues, the
identification of internal and external stakeholders and the development of proactive
communication practices and related resources. Cohen (2003) adds that effective crisis
communication can help raise an organisation's positioning and profit, as well as protecting or
even enhancing its reputation.
Good media management also means there will be sympathetic support for those affected and
goodwill among the media by providing them with appropriate information and ‘talent’. During a
crisis, good internal communication will achieve increased staff morale and reduce negative
rumours. Part of this process of achieving effective communication is to understand the
expectations of the stakeholders. For instance, the media should not be regarded as the enemy,
but as a significant stakeholder that can shape the perceptions of an organisation's performance
during a crisis.
Case Study - The Canberra Bushfires
The Canberra bushfires were the worst experienced in recent times, involving a community that,
overall, was not aware of the threat or prepared for such a large disaster. The Australian Capital
Territory Emergency Services (ACTES) had one media officer and had not developed a crisis
media plan to respond to a disaster.
While the bushfires were still burning, the Sydney media questioned the ability of the emergency
agencies to manage the response. During the first few days of the operation, the ACTES was
trapped into reacting to the media’s agendas and found it difficult to recover the initiative. The
lack of coordinated media tactics and information coming from the emergency services allowed
negative stories to develop. These negative comments were quickly picked up by ‘experts’ and
had another run on radio talkback programs and TV current affairs programs.
To cope with the unexpected media onslaught from interstate media, the ACTES deployed media
staff from other government agencies and employed media consultants to gain the upper hand.
In discussions with staff at ACTES, a number of issues were identified:
The coverage of emergency services participation was uneven, there was no crisis media plan,
information required by the media was not always available, not enough resources were
allocated to handle the media response, trained media spokespeople were not always
accessible and it was difficult to respond to the large number of requests for interviews.
A significant consequence of the heavy media demands on the ACTES was the diversion of
senior management from operational matters to assist in the media response - a reminder of the
need to prepare a media plan before a disaster strikes!
ACTES missed many valuable opportunities to turn even this crisis to their advantage, by gaining
community support and enhancing their own effectiveness at protecting the public. For example,
when the fires broke out, regardless of the nature and extent of the operational response, ACTES
media and community education staff could have launched an extensive fire-preparedness
information campaign. This would have portrayed them as active and concerned. It would also
have given the public a chance to participate in the response effort by preparing their own
properties, thus increasing their support for the firefighters and other emergency workers.
ACTES could also have identified exceptional volunteers to profile in the media, which might
have distracted the media from the endless stream of negative stories. These community-
preparedness messages and profiles of exceptional volunteers require planning and must be
prepared beforehand for immediate release as needed.
Case Study - Pan Pharmaceuticals
The old adage "perception is reality" is amply demonstrated by the Pan Pharmaceuticals crisis.
The Pan Pharmaceuticals public relations fiasco highlighted how easily a poorly handled incident
can turn into a disaster: not only for the company but also for the distributors and retailers, and
arguably for the whole of the complementary medicines industry.
The haphazard nature and paucity of the information coming from Pan allowed other experts
and agencies the opportunity to distribute information that supported their own agendas. The
announcements concerning the recalls were poorly managed and left retailers with confusing and
incomplete information to handle the PR disaster with their customers.
The Pan Pharmaceuticals crisis has affected the whole of the complementary medicines industry
– employees, retailers, customers, shareholders, the government and other manufacturers.
Customers have lost confidence in the safety and integrity of complementary products and many
small retailers will be lucky to survive. The larger manufacturers have implemented marketing
campaigns to counter the damaging publicity; however, recent negative publicity generated from
additional recalls has made their task more difficult.
Common (2003), in reviewing the handling of the media by Pan, identified issues such as a lack of
crisis media strategies, company spokespersons not identified or available, employees and other
stakeholders not kept informed, and company statements that were inadequate and did not
If Pan had immediately taken a few specific actions, the repercussions might have been much
less. Regular press conferences and media releases detailing Pan's actions to combat the problem
- and, incidentally, expressing contrition - along with paid advertising stressing their concern with
the welfare of individual consumers may have gone a long way toward diffusing public
resentment and media savagery.
Contents of a Crisis Media Plan
An effective media plan should act as support plan for the operational crisis management and
business continuity plans of the organisation. The policy should contain the objectives,
strategies, tactics and resources necessary to implement the media plan, including details of:
• identification of various potential emergencies, the cost and consequences and the
probable reaction of the media and principal stakeholders,
• clear safety messages that are easy for the public to act on as they cope with the
• identification of specific audiences, including emergency workers, shareholders,
political authorities, the media, the general public and affected residents,
• key corporate messages customised for different audiences,
• a media kit including media release templates for rapid customisation,
• the procedures and resources (staff and financing) for the implementation of a public
• procedures to respond quickly to negative coverage (such as the placement of paid
• identification, authorisation and training of agency spokespersons,
• protocols for the management of a coordinated response from all participating
• policies for testing the media plan,
• procedures for the establishment, staffing and resourcing of a Media Information
• procedures for recruitment of professional media staff, including journalists, film
crews, photographers and administrative support,
• development of IT and GIS systems to enable information to be quickly collated and
published in formats that are immediately useful to the media and the organisation,
• access to the operational site and procedures for enforcing restrictions.
Understanding the Media Response
The changes in news technology and the demands of the public for instant and diverse stories
have placed greater pressure on the media to present increasingly timely and varied information.
Understanding these pressures, along with the typical phases of disaster reportage and trends in
journalism, can help your organisation not only cope with media attention, but also turn it to your
Media outlets - whether print, television, radio or Internet-based - are facing increasing pressure
to get the story and get it fast. The days of each media outlet sending its own reporter into the
field to thoroughly investigate and analyse an event are largely over. Instead, as competition for
the finite ‘screen time’ of news consumers grows and economic efficiency becomes more
important than innovation and the ‘scoop’, media outlets seek above all to be their audiences'
one-stop shop for information. In a way, this makes the media planner's job easier for as long as
reporters are fed a steady diet of accurate, consistent news and analysis, they are unlikely to dig
for more. Better yet, if the media planner is prepared to give each media outlet its turn to get a
grab, it will tend not to matter if these grabs have sameness to them. What is important is that
your organisation is taking the time to meet the needs of each media outlet. This sets up a crucial
positive dynamic relationship, rather than an adversarial one.
The media planner must also be familiar with trends in reportage that influence how the media
will interact with an organisation in a crisis. The way disasters are reported means that:
• The media will seek explanations elsewhere if you say ‘no comment’.
• The media looks for the sensational or negative angles such as poor security or
• All stakeholders are influenced by the media coverage of the crisis, irrespective of the
success of the operational response.
• People who want in-depth information are using the Internet to access information
from a variety of sources.
• The media will usually go with a story that has good visuals to accompany it.
• Journalists do not want to miss a story that other media are covering.
• The media will demand access to disaster sites and to key personnel.
• The media can overload operational communication systems.
• The media can cause major congestion at disaster sites.
• Victims are often disturbed by the concentrated media interest.
• Journalists tend to rely on officials or experts to make sense of the confusing amount
• Journalists appreciate media conferences as places to interact and share information
with each other, as well as to get ‘the party line’ from the organisation.
• The media won’t go away until they have a story - whether you give them one or they
find their own.
The trend to digital news gathering, as seen during the recent Iraq war, means:
• Journalists can record, edit and broadcast their material digitally while still in the field.
• Due to shorter deadlines, the media are looking for ‘packaged’ news.
• Many journalists are now using pooled film and interviews, and editing and presenting
the report themselves.
These same pressures to get the story in a timely way also mean that irrespective of the
disaster, the media tends to operate in predictable stages when reporting the event:
• News of emergency. This phase is characterised by shock and a rush of activity.
Media want to flock to the scene of the action, and sometimes become part of the
rescue task themselves. During this stage hard information, good talent and visuals are
treated like gold!
• Causes of emergency. The media will look for simplistic explanations. They will often
go to the easiest or loudest source of information, irrespective of whether that source
of information is reliable.
• Stories of individual courage, either real or imagined, involving heroes and victims.
• Effect of the disaster. The media will be heavily influenced by the visual images, and
may disregard larger effects that cannot be easily seen (such as damage to
• Safety warnings and their adequacy.
• Emergency response and its adequacy. In an information vacuum, the media may
tend to report any uninformed comment they can find.
• The blame game. Find a person who feels they have been poorly treated and run their
story on a current affair show. Politicians may become involved if they can see
• The aftermath and recovery. The cost of the incident, recovery strategies and lessons
Familiarity with these pressures and trends can assist your organisation's media staff to
anticipate future stories or information requirements and be prepared for requests. While the
media will always decide what news is, your organisation can facilitate positive media coverage
by providing the media with access to up-to-date information, a spokesperson and interesting
Managing the Media during a Crisis
Obviously, it's not enough in a crisis to put out a media release or make a statement and
hope for the best. Media response must be coordinated to meet both the immediate, tactical
demands of individual reporters' queries and the longer-term, strategic demands of
minimising the harm to the organisation and drawing what benefits are possible out of the
An essential component for managing the media response in a crisis is the establishment of a
Media Information Centre (MIC). Such a centre, which may need to operate on a 24-hour
basis for at least the most intense phases of the crisis, provides a focus for media attention
(minimising the chances that that focus will stray to areas you'd prefer to leave unexamined).
It also provides a place to concentrate your organisation's media resources so that they
communicate more effectively with each other and with management, have a clearer idea of
both the overall media strategy and the day-to-day tactics of the operation's media aspects,
and can more rapidly respond to any changes in the crisis.
Identifying and equipping the MIC is part of a comprehensive crisis media plan. A number of
characteristics can contribute to its success:
1. In most cases, the MIC should be co-located with the operational centre. If there is a
large-scale physical disaster, it should be located as close as to the incident as is practical
2. The MIC should be readily accessible by road with adequate parking (to allow the media
access to the facility).
3. It should incorporate a large room that would be suitable as a site for media conferences.
If possible, one end of the room should be on a slightly raised dais. This room will house
all journalists and should have a TV, telephone lines and Internet access.
4. A large workstation area containing desks with PCs with Internet facilities should be in an
adjoining or nearby room. This area will house the organisation's own media staff as well
as the media staff from supporting and cooperating agencies. Depending on the degree of
media interest in the crisis it may contain:
• Mobile phone coverage,
• Uninterruptible power supply,
• Secure work areas, with access via identification tags (may require hiring security
• Breakout / meeting room,
• A photocopy / work preparation area,
• Nearby kitchen and toilet facilities,
• A telephone switchboard,
• Access to multiple fax distribution for disseminating media and public information,
• Arrangements for the accreditation of external media visiting the facility,
• Whiteboards and other recording material,
• An incident/media inquiry/issues management logging system supported by
appropriate media monitoring facilities,
• Suitable resources such as PCs, fax machines, camera and video camera, with
provision to directly upload to the organisation’s website and
• Secretarial support.
Operation of the Media Information Centre
The critical media roles for the organisation during a major crisis will be to:
• Co-ordinate and manage all media and public safety communications.
• Provide the key spokespeople who will speak on behalf of the organisation. This may
not be a media-relations professional, but could be someone with a firm grasp of
operational concepts and procedures, and appropriate media training.
• Provide approval mechanisms for all public comment. Unless the organisation has
implemented a policy of using trained field staff, it is best to have one referral point
for all media enquires regarding the crisis and associated issues.
• Provide information on media coverage to all relevant stakeholders, including the
board, shareholders, employees and sub-contractors.
• Develop and reach agreement with senior management on regular important
messages and issues.
• Monitor media coverage of the event through a media-monitoring organisation and
address all emerging issues.
• Gather intelligence from the field that is appropriate, timely and accurate.
Staffing the Media Response
It is clear that a critical path to success for the Media Information Centre (MIC) will be the
provision of trained and suitably skilled staff. Media personnel from the organisation will staff
the media room, brief spokespeople, organise press conferences and tours for media and
photographers of the affected areas, maintain a log of important information, prepare news
releases and work with the families of the injured. The media plan should include information
on staffing needs such as administrative support roles, lines of communication, resourcing
and the authority and responsibility attached to each role.
Two critical roles in the MIC are that of the media manager and the spokesperson.
The media manager coordinates the communication response of the organisation and should
be part of the senior management team, although not necessarily the spokesperson. The
media manager will have the responsibility to ensure that both the tactical and strategic
aspects of the media plan are identified and implemented.
To achieve effective communication while allowing the senior management team to deal with
the crisis, a number of spokespeople may be used. The spokesperson may vary according to
the seriousness of the situation; however, the senior spokesperson will normally be the CEO.
Spokespeople will be briefed before each media conference and represent the organisation to
All spokespeople require training on delivery of core messages, including on-camera training
so they can see and understand how their face and body respond to emotional stress, and
how that affects the interviewer and the viewers and listeners. Spokespeople need a
willingness to express grief or concern without admitting guilt, and an ability to keep the big
picture in mind while addressing the details. Skimping on rigorous interview training for these
people is a false economy.
Additional media staff that may be required include:
• Forward media staff. While it may appear obvious that the organisation should have access to
all the relevant information about the crisis, this is not always the case. If the MIC has access
to the most relevant and accurate information, the media will beat a path to your door. One
of the critical roles for forward media staff is to track down and confirm the primary
• Professional journalists. It may be necessary to support your media staff with temporary
journalists. Depending on the situation, photographers and camera crew may also be
useful in recording the incident. Additional staff need to be identified and briefed
• IT and GIS staff may be needed to collate and publish appropriate data or information.
The interview gives the organisation the opportunity to put their views across to the public,
rather than answer questions asked by the media. Staff should prepare for the interview by
developing a few core messages and repeat them by linking part of the question to the response.
Staff should only be authorised to conduct interviews if they have had training and are familiar
with the media policy.
Helpful advice includes:
• Stay objective and ‘on the record’ in interviews.
• Avoid saying ‘no comment’ as it makes you look deceitful.
• Never make a personal attack on another organisation or person.
• If possible, conduct the interview on site.
• Avoid repeating negative statements in your answers.
• Ensure you have access to current operational information, statistics and interesting
• Develop key messages and stick to them.
• Show empathy with those affected by the incident.
• When dealing with the media be professional, honest and reliable.
A list of possible topics for media releases should be identified, including the response to the
disaster, what has been done to prevent recurrence, plans for reconstruction, thanking the
community and other organisations for their help, and giving support for employees. The
media love unusual angles, good visuals and quantitative information. If possible, include data
such as the number of people working in the response, the extent of damage, number of
vehicles involved, the value of the damage and the amount of rescue equipment used.
Templates can be developed that will cut down on the preparation time needed to write
releases during an emergency. You should include quotes from the spokesperson and have
your releases checked and authorised. While releases are still faxed to media outlets, they can
also be e-mailed directly to journalists, posted on your web site or sent via a commercial
Surprisingly, few crisis management plans examine the need for the collection of ongoing
detailed intelligence that the media require. If the agency is not able to supply the data, other
stakeholders will fill the void with rumour, emotion and incorrect information.
The collection of timely, relevant and accurate intelligence and background information is
one of the most difficult aspects of media management and needs to receive more attention.
For the agency to be perceived as the authoritative organisation during a crisis, there needs a
system of information gathering designed to quickly present information to decision makers.
Use a forward media team to get the details of what happened at the disaster site. Be careful
of using information that has not been confirmed by the original source, or from other
witnesses. Circulate the information to management and the media team as soon as possible.
With the team's input, classify the severity of the crisis. Define the risks to life, profits, and
reputation and identify those who might be adversely affected.
Using a commercial media-monitoring organisation to monitor the media coverage, will
enable the organisation to react promptly. A debrief should also be conducted to determine
what worked and what needs to be revised.
A media conference can establish an organisation as the authority in the area, especially when
you can provide experts. McLean (2003) identified the major issues when organising a press
(media) conference as:
Keep the statement brief, provide a copy of your statement, express sympathy first, do
not lie, and do not apportion blame.
The organisation needs to project an authoritative image with a credible message, so it will be
the first contact for media during a crisis. A media conference is also an opportunity to
market your organisation by the use of logos and inclusion of organisation information in the
The Recovery Phase
During the recovery phase the organisation should focus on the long-term clean up and
getting the organisation or environment back to normal. The response and recovery phases
will often overlap, although the recovery phase may last considerably longer.
Throughout this phase, the media interest is considerably diminished as the events have been
exhaustively covered and the dramatic stories dry up. The mood of the news media may
become more antagonistic, depending upon their perceptions of how well the emergency was
managed, the community and political opinions and the reactions to recovery efforts.
Management of the media at this stage will require the active education of media
representatives about the scope of the operation that is now contemplated and the detailed
planning work that is underway. The levels of service to the media will be critical, as the
organisation’s activity may add the necessary colour to what might otherwise be dull news
The operation and roles of the MIC need to be developed and tested well before a significant
event occurs. Preparation, training and exercising the plan will allow the organisation to
implement it smoothly. Realistic role-playing and simulation exercises will give you the
opportunity to test your plan and the confidence to face the difficult issues. A significant and
growing body of literature exists as a resource for those developing exercises for their
Ideally, the plans will be tested in conjunction with the exercising of business continuity
plans. Exercises can vary from a live-simulation exercise, simulated role-play, desktop
exercise, specific contingency exercises or test preparedness of specific functions of the
Media Information Centre.
To provide the necessary pressure to make a realistic exercise, it is important that participants
experience the demands that the media generate during a major event. A creditable media
presence will be able to put the right questions and reflect the constant but varying pressures
experienced in a major crisis through media conferences, interviews, doorstops and the
constant telephone barrage to your media staff. Temporary professional journalists, hired
through recruitment agencies will provide such a realistic presence.
Regular exercises and workshops with all relevant stakeholders will be required to ensure that
key personnel know what their role is, know whom they will be working with and where they
will be working. Training sessions will ensure that all staff are familiar with the procedures for
media coverage and reinforce the commitment of the organisation to the media plan.
Making Your Plan Community-Based
One of the keys to how well the media reports how the overall operation - and particularly
the recovery phase - is handled is the ability of the organisation to work with the affected
stakeholders or communities. Critical to this phase is a community-based communications
strategy that emphasises supportive and united actions. This strategy seeks to take the event
off the front pages of the metropolitan media, and to provide the locally affected
communities with more direct, factual information, using regional media, who will be more
interested in the long-term effects of the incident.
Community-based communications strategy should be largely prepared beforehand and
• Allow the organisation to provide no-nonsense, factual information to affected
communities. It should never aim to build false hope for a speedy recovery when it is
plain that a lengthy recovery phase will be required and
• Allow the organisation the time to talk publicly about the successes of the operations
during the crisis. There will be a need to acknowledge the valuable assistance of other
organisations and the local community in the response phase.
At a tactical level, activities should be developed that highlight the organisation’s response
and reinforce their core messages. These activities would build on the authority of the
organisation and ensure that the media contact them if they want a comprehensive coverage
of the event. Activities may include:
• With the active support of stakeholders such as councils, stress the importance of local
communications, via newsletters, letterbox drops, community bulletin boards, community
health centres and libraries.
• Set up community reference groups in each local government area, to provide direct
feedback to stakeholders. Community reference groups, organised and chaired through
the organisation and comprised of representatives of local government, key government
agencies, key community, social and sporting groups, would have a charter to advise the
organisation during the recovery phase. .
• Provide realistic estimates on the time required to effect full physical recovery from the
• Communicate directly to the public using the organisation’s website and related links to
other stakeholder’s websites. Information can be included on the response and recovery
from the incident, using stories, graphs, photos, maps, interviews and videos.
• If you have established an info line, make sure that the operators have the latest
information about the recovery activities.
• Seek strategic alliances with regional or trade media that often have a particular interest in
• Actively manage critical issues in the metropolitan, national and international media
without encouraging ongoing high-profile coverage of the ongoing, devastating impacts
that the event has had on the community.
• Provide for opportunities for community celebrations, thank yous and anniversary events.
• If possible, coordinating the media and public communications activities across other
As recent diasters have demonstrated, it is more important then ever to plan your media
response to significant events, to take advantage of opportunities to promote your
organisation. New technology means that a journalist can film an event, edit the story and
report directly from the incident site. The public is also becoming more sophisticated in their
analysis of the news and more demanding of public and private institutions. These changes in
the way stories are produced and disseminated, means that there are more opportunities for
the organisation to mismanage the media response. However, with a well-tested crisis media
plan, you will not only be more prepared to respond to media and community concerns, but
be able to use the situation to positively promote your organisation.
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