Handling negative media coverage

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Handling negative media coverage

  1. 1. Handling Negative Media Coverage Crisis Communications Janis R. Ehlers The Ehlers Group 954-726-9228 www.TheEhlersGroup.com Robert Walker RetirementHomes.com 1-888-544-9124 x. 243 RetirementHomes.com
  2. 2. “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” – Abraham Lincoln
  3. 3. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE What is a Crisis?  Traumatic and stressful  Seen or Quiet  Involves conflict and drama
  4. 4. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Audiences Affected by a Crisis  Residents  Management, staff and employees  Families of residents  Families of management, staff and employees  External community  Media
  5. 5. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Potential Crisis Areas and Situations  Building & physical plant  Natural disasters  Residents  Employees
  6. 6. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Potential Crisis Situations in Senior Communities  Death  Accidents  Fire  Abuse  Fraud-Embezzlement  Sexual Harassment  Missing Resident  Personnel Issues  Complaints or Accusations  Resident Care  Disease Outbreak  Fire  Flooding  Natural Disasters  Building Incidents  Construction Issues (Asbestos, mildew, mold)  Industry Press
  7. 7. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Stages of Crisis Crisis Occurs Information Gap Positive  Factual information  Reassurance  Provide information  Communication  Positive outcomes  Enhance reputation  Enhanced public awareness The Bad News SPIRAL  Too little/wrong information  Without information  Work trickles out  Rumors start  Escalating rumors  Confusion  Reputation erodes  Reputation damage  ―That was that community‖
  8. 8. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE For Example-Hurricanes  How will information be disseminated to various audiences?  What will be disseminated ?  How will information be disseminated?  Who will be the spokesperson?  How will social media keep information available?  Who will disseminate information?
  9. 9. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Crisis Planning  Have a plan in place before a crisis  Crisis team  Designated spokesperson  Trial runs & practice  Media policy & requests  Media kit & media resources  Social media plan & policy
  10. 10. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Each crisis situation may differ in the communication required & priorities  Residents  Families  Employees  Media  Social Media  External Publics
  11. 11. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Being Proactively Prepared 1. The situation needs to be assessed 2. Determine the audiences affected 3. Gather the facts and analyze these facts 4. Develop the talking points & messages 5. Anticipate tough questions 6. Put the spokesperson out there 7. Never say no comment 8. Implement the media request policy 9. Weather the storm
  12. 12. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Key messages  Concern for residents is #1 message  Talking points—answer the 4 ―W’s and the H‖ 1. What? 2. When? 3. Where? 4. Who? 5. How?  Explain what community is doing to help residents
  13. 13. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Communication 1. Keep it simple and clear 2. Stick to facts 3. Consistent 4-5 key talking points 4. Crisis team knows talking points
  14. 14. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Communication cont. 5. Rely on the spokesperson 6. Determine the timetable as to what will be said and when 7. Speed is of the essence 8. Consult attorney before making statements
  15. 15. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Media Tips 1. They are doing their job 2. They will report a story whether you speak to them or not 3. Be prepared and stay on point 4. If you don’t understand their question—ask for clarification 5. Stick to the facts-less is more 6. Ok—―I’m not able to provide that information‖ 7. Not Ok—―No comment‖ 8. Balance bad news with good 9. Provide a positive perspective on your community/company 10. There is some information authorities will release
  16. 16. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Media Statement 1. Depending on the severity of the situation 2. Issue a press release regarding the situation 3. Use the CRA technique in the press release
  17. 17. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE CRA Technique Context ―In the five years we’ve been operating this community, we never have had a situation like this.‖ Regret ―Our main concern is for our residents. We are working closely with families to provide support …working with authorities…working with specialists.‖ Action ―We are reviewing our procedures and meeting with employees to ensure this situation does not occur again.‖
  18. 18. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Dealing with Newspaper  Don’t ask to see the article in advance  Don’t play the advertising trump card  Press releases and media statements  Letters to the editor  Press kit  They aren’t your friend  May attempt to fan the fire (―he said‖/‖she said‖)
  19. 19. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Media Policy  Determined in advance  Guard residents’ and employees’ privacy  Control media in building  Role of spokesperson  Log all media inquiries
  20. 20. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Social Media and Crisis Communication  Take control of the situation  Post Facebook & blog updates  Use Twitter if applicable  Determine in media policy who will post  Determine the information that will be shared  Act fast and take control of the messages  Employees should understand who disseminates information
  21. 21. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Media List  Create a list of local media/email addresses/telephone numbers  Have 24 hour telephone numbers – weekends and holidays  Maintain a list-log of all media inquiries (name/publication) verify if ―fishy‖  If police is notified/media is notified as well  Have Twitter & Facebook contacts
  22. 22. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE After the Fact  Review  Reflect  Regroup  Prepare…for the next crisis
  23. 23. HANDLING NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE Robert Walker RetirementHomes.com 1-888-544-9124 x. 243 Robert@RetirementHomes.com www.RetirementHomes.com Janis R. Ehlers The Ehlers Group 954-726-9228 Janis@TheEhlersGroup.com www.TheEhlersGroup.com

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