Thursday, April 29, 2004

Reader's Comment 

Alice Marshall of Presto Vivace in Fairfax, VA had comments on my post about waiting for a bad story. Here is an edited version of what she had to say.

I think employees should be called in and briefed in person. I think the sales/marketing people especially should be briefed beforehand. I also think customers and suppliers should be sent an email. But remember, that email could be forwarded anywhere or wind up on a blog, so, that could be counter productive.

One more thing, if you can catch the news organization in an out-right fabrication (extremely rare, but does happen) you could put the report and the documents in question on your web site and persuade bloggers to link to them.

I agree with most of what Alice has to say. It is important to brief people beforehand to prevent panic. Sometimes, however, there is not much time to get this done. I am aware of a situation in which an investigative reporter suddenly called a company and claimed he possessed a document that stated one of its employees was guilty of a criminal act. The company did not have the document nor did it have evidence that the employee was even accused of such an act. What should a company do? You wouldn't brief anyone because the story is too hazy. Unfortunately, two days later at least three members of the news media had the same document, or one similar to it. Now what do you do? The company still could not get confirmation as to what the document was, nor could it track down who authored it. There wasn't much action the company could take. Apparently, an attorney somewhere had released the document as part of a defense of a client not related to the company. The company was caught in the backwash and its reputation imperiled.

I do like Alice's comment that one must be careful about sending e-mail because contents will find their way outside. One should never write anything in an e-mail that should not be seen elsewhere. This is true for e-mails in general.

As for posting the facts that rebut a bad story, this has been done in a few instances. Most organizations wait until the story has appeared. One or two organizations of which I am aware actually posted interviews with reporters on their Web site before the story appeared. They were concerned what the reporter might write. It takes courage to do that -- or fear.

My thanks to Alice for her comment.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?