During a crisis


The key to successful dealings with the media during a crisis is to become a credible source of information.The following can be suggested:

  • Appoint a spokesperson whom the media can trust and who has authority to speak for the company. It also is a good idea to designate one central spokesperson so that the organization speaks with one voice.
  • Set up a central media information center where reporters can obtain updated information and work on stories. You should provide telephone lines, modular jacks so that reporters using computers can reach their offices, and facsimile machines. Provide food and transportation if necessary.
  • Provide a constant flow of information, even if the situation is unchanged or negative. A company builds credibility by addressing bad news quickly, when information is withheld, the coverup becomes the story.
  • Be accessible by providing after-hours phone numbers or carrying a cellular phone with you at all times.
  • Keep a log of media calls, and return calls as promptly as possible. A log can help you track issues being raised by reporters and give you a record of which media showed the most interest in your story.
  • Be honest. Don’t exaggerate, and don’t obscure facts. If you’re not sure of something or don’t have the answer to a question, say so. If you are not at liberty to provide information, explain why.

These guidelines reflect plain common sense, but when a crisis hits, it is surprising how many organizations go into a defensive mode and try to stonewall the media. Dow-Corning, for example, got considerable negative coverage by treating the media as an enemy.

Corporate spokespeople accused the media of reporting only the «sensationalistic, anecdotal side of the breast implant story, which has unnecessarily frightened women across the country». At a news conference, the head of Dow’s healthcare business continued the attack by telling the assembled reporters that they took «memos out of context and distorted reality». It would be an understatement to say that this is a poor wayl to get the press on your side.

Jack-In-The-Box also violated the tenets of crisis communications in the first days of the reported food poisonings. The company initially said «no comment» and then waited three days to hold a news conference, at which the company president tried to shift the blame to the meatpacking company.

There are two principles: accept responsibility and take action. Even if you are not directly, at fault the organization should take responsibility for its product and the public safety.

Johnson & Johnson did this with Tylenol, but Dow-Corning chose to defend its product even after evidence had mounted that the company knew the product had a history of causing medical problems. Experts also say that Jack-In-The-Box fumbled early on by not showing concern for the poisoned customers. The company would have won more public goodwill and favorable press coverage by more quickly offering to pay all medical bills, which it eventually did.

  • Two considerations can be emphasized in the crisis management plan:
  • Demonstrate your commitment to good corporate citizenship by taking prompt and decisive actions to control problems in your operations.
  • Communicate swiftly, constantly, and consistently to all appropriate audiences in clear, straightforward, nontechnical language.


after hours (adj) после рабочего дня
be at fault быть виновным
be at liberty to do smth.
иметь возможность (право) сделать ч.-л.
common sense здравый смысл
cover-up попытка скрыть ч.-л.
credible надежный
designate назначить
exaggerate преувеличивать
eventually в конце концов
evidence доказательство
flow of information поток информации
fumble on портить дело
go into a defensive mode занять оборонительную позицию
have authority иметь полномочия
hold a news conference провести пресс-конференцию
initially первоначально
log журнал записей
memos зд. замечания
modular jacks блоки подключения
mount возрастать, повышаться
obscure скрывать
obtain получить, добыть, приобрести
set up создать, организовать
shift the blame to smb. переложить вину на к.-л.
show concern проявить озабоченность
stonewall отмалчиваться
straightforward откровенный, прямой
tenet принцип, доктрина
understatement преуменьшение
updated обновленный, самый новый
win smb.’s goodwill добиться ч.-л. расположения
withhold information придерживать информацию


1)    Find the English equivalents in the text. Use them in sentences of your own

  1. оплатить счета; подчеркивать
  2. искажать действительность
  3. привлечь прессу на свою сторону
  4. освещение в прессе
  5. пищевое отравление
  6. клиенты
  7. выступать от имени компании
  8. вопросы, поднимаемые журналистами
  9. обычный здравый смысл
  10. обращаться с к.-л. как с врагом.

2)    Find the words in the text which describe or mean the following

  1. an attempt to prevent the public from discovering the truth about smth.
  2. an official written record of smth.
  3. to choose someone or smth.for a particular job purpose
  4. to refuse to give facts, evidence etc.
  5. a statement that is not strong enough to express how good, bad, impressive etc. something really is
  6. after a long time, especially after a long delay or a lot of problems
  7. to be responsible for something bad that has happened
  8. to have the right or permission to do smth.-

3) Translate the following word-combinations into Russian. Use them in sentences of your own

  1. credible information
  2. to obtain
  3. updated
  4. to withhold
  5. flow of

4) Translate the following sentences into Russian

  1. The report confirms that he withheld important evidence.
  2. To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
  3. Eventually, the sky cleared up and we went to the beach.
  4. The accident report found both drivers at fault.
  5. We are not at liberty to discuss it.

5) Match the words which are close in their meaning

evidence conceal
eventually honest
accessible proof
obscure after all
straight forward available

6) Match the words having the opposite meaning

favorable fraudulent
obscure insignificant
honest doubtful
onsiderable expose
sure derogatory

7) Complete the following sentences

common sense; goodwill; promptly; tenets; cm rage; to designate

  1. It is a good idea    one central spokesperson.
  2. Return calls as    as possible.
  3. These guidelines reflect plain
  4. Jack-In-The-Box violated the    of crisis communication.
  5. The company would have won more public and favorable press___________.

8) Insert prepositions

to; for; on; at

  1. to demonstrate commitment_______smth.
  2. to get the press_______one’s side
  3. to be_______fault
  4. to show concern_______smb.
  5. the key _______smth.
  6. to speak _______the company
  7. to be liberty ___________to do smth.

9)    Explain the grammatical structure of the following sentence

  1. The company would have won more public goodwill and favorable press coverage.
  2. Make up your own sentences with the same structure.

10)    Answer the following questions

  1. What is the key to successful dealings with the media during a crisis?
  2. What authority should an appointed spokesperson have?
  3. Why should a central media information center be set up?
  4. Why should a constant flow of information be provided?
  5. How can you be accessible at (in) afterhours time?
  6. What sort of log must be kept?
  7. Do organizations always follow these guidelines?
  8. What happened during Dow Coming’s crisis?
  9. How did Jack-In-The-Box violate the rules of crisis communication?
  10. In what way must an organization communicate to all appropriate audiences during a crisis?

11)    Can you explain the following

  1. When a crisis hits, it is surprising how many organizations go into a defensive mode and try to stonewall the media.
  2. When information is withheld, the cover up becomes the story.

12)    Sum up the main idea of the text. Write down only one sentence.

13)    Render the following in English

Связи с общественностью в кризисных ситуациях
Иногда возникают катастрофические ситуации, требующие немедленных и эффективных действий, подобных применению пожарной машины или спасательной шлюпки при сигнале SOS. Этот тип деятельности паблик рилейшнз называется «экстремальные связи с общественностью» или «кризисное управление». Такие ситуации могут возникнуть в результате катастроф, подобных случившейся в Чернобыле. Другие проблемы могут возникнуть вследствие насильственного поглощения компании или финансового краха.

Успешное кризисное управление зависит от трех ключевых элементов:

  1. Согласованная политика компании по управлению в экстремальной ситуации.
  2. Проверенные средства связи, приспособления и оборудование.
  3. лючевой персонал, прошедший подготовку, необходимую для принятия немедленных мер в случае серьезной аварии; его представители будут выступать от имени компании на пресс-конференциях, телевидении или говорить по телефону.

Политика компании
Без полной оценки высшим руководством важности кризисного плана крайне сложно, если вообще возможно, составить всестороннюю программу по паблик рилейшнз и подготовить персонал, способный осуществить ее.

Средства связи
Начать следует с подготовки ключевого персонала в вашей собственной компании. В этот курс подготовки должны входить занятия по ведению телефонных переговоров, выступлениям на радио, практические занятия по участию в телевизионных интервью. Подготовленному таким образом персоналу потребуются надежные средства связи: телефон, телекс и. т д. Обычные средства в кризисной ситуации могут оказаться бесполезными.

Ключевой персонал
Катастрофы могут происходить в любое время суток, поэтому ключевой персонал должен находиться в готовности все 24 часа в сутки. Это значит, что; должно быть несколько групп, дежурящих по графику.
Действия в экстремальной ситуации
В кризисной ситуации важными факторами являются: немедленная реакция, обеспечение средств массовой информации точными сведениями, наличие всей технической информации, любые возможные действия в интереса! пострадавших и их родственников.