Tag Archives: media

Public Relations and the Media

Using a fictitious scenario about an international airline company addressing the media after one of its planes had crashed, I will examine the usefulness and limitations of a crisis communications plan. It is also worthwhile to note that although the messaging is important, the manner in which the message is delivered is also important. Battenberg (2002) lays out a compelling case of which tactics to use and which to abandon when dealing with a media frenzy.

Media Questions

As a member of the media, there are some very specific questions that need to be addressed. For instance, was the crash a result of weather, aircraft maintenance, or was this a terrorism event? In addition, recent layoffs of its mechanics coupled with its aging fleet of aircraft might have contributed to the crash and needs to be addressed. Other employees were laid off in addition to some mechanics. It would be important to know if more experienced members of the flight crew were among the lay offs, as this flight was trans-Atlantic and might require some specialized expertise.

Public Relations Response

According to Coombs (2012) and Fearns-Bank (2011), the response to the media needs to be truthful and humble. The cause of the crash will eventually be determined by the federal investigators, and any assumptions now would be premature. This should be clearly stated to the media along with a statement that every effort to assist in the investigation will be made. In regards to the lay offs, it should be made absolutely clear that, along with our dedication to safety, the lowest performing mechanics and pilots were the ones laid off, keeping the most experienced and skilled mechanics who would never sign off on any unworthy aircraft. An example statement might include: “In our corporate culture of safety, we allow any of our employees to trigger a grounding and complete safety check of any of our aircraft for any reason, even with our recent financial difficulties. If we do not fly safe, then we do not fly.” If the company would ground all similar aircraft for an immediate safety check, it would be helpful to reinforce the ideals of the corporate culture of safety.


As the public relations officer addressing these media concerns, I would be sure to answer these questions as humbly and honestly as possible. I would try to rely on the messaging provided in the crisis communication plan. However, in light of recent financial difficulties and layoffs, the plan may prove partially inadequate, though it will provide, at least, a framework to ensure the messaging is consistent (Coombs, 2012; Fearns-Bank, 2011). Obviously, information will be limited as the crash just occurred; however, the concerns of the recent layoffs and service expansion still need to be addressed. Any assurance of safety that is less than matter-of-fact might not be convincing enough to the flying public (Stevens, Malone, & Bailey, 2005). Fortunately, I am able to cite the impeccable safety record and award-winning corporate excellence and customer service. Additionally, other sections of the communication plan, such as messaging involving lay offs and other financial issues, might prove useful to help the public and the media further understand the company’s dedication to safety, ensuring that any problems identified will be quickly rectified (Coombs, 2012; Stevens, Malone, & Bailey, 2005).

Though the position of defending the corporate image in light of tragedy is not an enviable one, a strong and ethical corporation deserves to enjoy business continuity even after such a tragedy (Stevens, Malone, & Bailey, 2005). Having an effective communication plan in place and utilizing the plan in an honest, humble, and transparent manner can promote the corporate image even while suffering crises (Coombs, 2012; Stevens, Malone, & Bailey, 2005).


Battenberg, E. (2002, December). Managing a media frenzy. Public Relations Tactics, 9(12), 1, 15. Retrieved from http://library.waldenu.edu/

Coombs, W. T. (2012). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning managing, and responding (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fearn-Banks, K. (2011). Crisis communications: a casebook approach (4th ed). New York, NY: Routledge.

Stephens, K. K., Malone, P. C., & Bailey, C. M. (2005). Communicating with stakeholders during a crisis: Evaluating message strategies. Journal of Business Communication, 42(4), 390-419. doi:10.1177/0021943605279057

Precedence of Social Change in Print Media

An Analysis of the Precedence of Social Change in the Print Media

In a society as grand, as robust, and as diverse as America enjoys, it would be naïve to suggest that as a society we are perfect. Thus, change is necessary and inevitable. As a society, we not only have a right to pursue happiness, but arguably, an ethical responsibility to do so (Kymlicka, 2001; U.S. Const. amend. I). Although personal improvement is important, many times we achieve this through positive social change.

Positive social change indicates an effort by an individual or a group of individuals who attempt to influence a representative group of society to promote civic responsibility in a manner that might propagate beyond the initial effort to create a civic philosophy that improves the overall happiness of some percentage of society.

Emily Groves (2010), a writer for the Norwich Bulletin, wrote a recent article about the efforts of local community leaders, including Rep. Joe Courtney, to inspire civic responsibility and instill a greater understanding of the history surrounding the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the guiding principles and influences of the Founding Fathers. The program, “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” is a part of a national project of The Center for Civic Education.

In this front page article, Groves (2010) describes the positive impact that both Courtney and the program had on the participants. The high school students who participated were quoted to say that they have a higher appreciation of government and the role that they play as individual citizens.

Perhaps Rep. Courtney’s presence played a part in the article’s placement on the front page, but usually only the most dramatic of news stories find a home here, relegating good will stories to the back sections of the paper (Groves, 2010). The Norwich Bulletin, however, finds its readership located in what is commonly referred to the quiet corner of Connecticut. Good will articles are probably appreciated more here over the common drama of most mainstream newspapers. The Groves (2010) article shares the front page with a child welfare piece reporting an effort on improving conditions for children under the auspices of the Department of Children and Families (Rabe, 2010) and an article about a fundraiser to benefit a Catholic school that was closed (Scirbona, 2010). The Norwich Bulletin is certainly a community-centered newspaper.

If I were a regular subscriber to this newspaper, I would have read this article for a number of reasons. It is well written, well placed, and covers a subject of my interest. I am not, however, a regular subscriber to this or any other newspaper. Lately, I have found more value in searching for newsworthy topics on my own.

As I stated above, change is necessary and inevitable. Print media outlets, in my opinion, would serve their readership well by focusing on more of the positive strides that we take as a community and as a society. Just as we have a responsibility to pursue happiness along with the right to be able do so, the press has a responsibility to report truth, whether fact or opinion, along with the freedom to do so (Kymlicka, 2001; U.S. Const. amend. I).


Groves, E. (2010, September 18). Education: Courtney gives mock Congress real feel. Norwich Bulletin, 150(261), pp. A1, A7.

Kymlicka, W. (Ed.). (2001). The virtues and practices of democratic citizens. In Author, Contemporary political philosophy (2nd ed.; pp. 287-293). New York, NY: Oxford.

Rabe, J. (2010, September 18). Child welfare: Report: Abused children failed by DCF. Norwich Bulletin, 150(261), pp. A1, A7.

Scirbona, C. B. (2010, September 18). St. Mary Church fair: School closed, but Circle of Fun lives on. Norwich Bulletin, 150(261), pp. A1.

U.S. Const. amend. I.

Reducing Philanthropy to Political Commentary

In searching the typical news outlets for stories related to health care reform, be it local or national, I cannot help but notice that health care reform is the news. The factions are split, and the bias is evident. As the news outlets lean more to the left of the political spectrum than ever before, it is almost impossible to research the real issues at hand. Wading through the political views to glimpse a meaningful patient-focused agenda is quite difficult lately.

An article written by Randall Beach (2009) of the New Haven Register focuses on a group of doctors that rely on charity to provide health care to a select adult population who do not qualify for Medicaid and make less than $20,000 per year. Unfortunately, this article, like so many others, reduces philanthropy to political commentary.

Our current health care system is fragmented, and many people believe health care reform is needed (“54% Say Major Changes Needed”, 2009). As Dr. Peter Ellis is quoted, “Our motto is: ‘Health care reform starts at home'” (Beach, 2009, p. 3). It does not make sense, however, to provide Universal Health Care at the cost of our failing economy. Dr. Ellis’ group, Project Access, has secured funding from private sources, including the Hospital of St. Raphael and Yale-New Haven Hospital staff, the Aetna Group, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and the New Haven County Medical Association Foundation. Additionally, 350 local care providers are associated with the project. This is a grassroots effort at helping to care for our neighbors, and as far as I have read, it seems to be a reasonable and responsible attempt to mend some of the local disparities to health care access.

Though I commend Mr. Beach for covering such a newsworthy story, it serves no one to inflame the current health care debates with political posturing by the media. I believe that the recent passing of health care reform will do nothing but create more clutter and complication for us to untangle when we finally have the financial stability to address the issue responsibly and realistically. In the meantime, I, like Project Access, will continue to volunteer my time and medical services to my community.


Beach, R. (2009, December 28). Doctors giving health care reform a head start. New Haven Register. Retrieved from http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/12/28/news/new_haven/a1_mon_nedoctors_art.prt

54% Say Major Changes Needed in Health Care System, 45% Disagree. (2009, October 2). Rasmussen Reports. Retrieved from http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/october_2009/54_say_major_changes_needed_in_health_care_system_45_disagree