Archive for April 25th, 2007

Mainstream media comment on the risks of the instant news world–its about Time

April 25, 2007

I found this article about the new world of crisis management interesting. It’s what we have been talking about for years–as any frequent reader of this blog or almost any blog on crisis management knows. And the key points about the changing world and its impact on crisis management and communication were made in the first edition of by book Now Is Too Late. But, Time is reporting on “The New World of Crisis Management”, so it must be news.

Here is the key statement:

But 25 years later, crisis management is proving harder than ever. (Just ask Don Imus.) The biggest change comes from the demands of always-on news. Companies now have to sweat not only the morning’s headlines but endless blog postings and runaway video clips that can (and do) appear 24 hours a day. Even when there isn’t much new information, blogs can keep a crisis alive–and smart companies must pay as much attention to them as they do to the national media.

One more thing–Eric Dezenhall has an impressive press machine behind the launch of his new book, as can be seen by his strong coverage in this Time article. Thanks for the copy Mark Fortier.

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The Army and the age of transparency

April 25, 2007

I watched in fascination yesterday morning the live coverage of Kevin Tillman and Jessica Lynch’s testimony to the Congress re the Army fabricating stories of heroism. It struck me how strange it was to be observing this huge and fundamental shift in public expectations and acceptance. Propaganda has always been a part of political/military life and activities. Not just in the Goebbels/Hitler mode, but also in the US–witness the enlisting of Hollywood greats such as John Ford to make what in retrospect were outrageously propagandist films during WWII.

We now live in the age of transparency. We live in the age of embedded reporters who share the frontlines with soldiers dodging bullets and living in constant fear of IEDs. And we have no tolerance for spin–not even from our military leaders. I can imagine the Army Public Affairs officers in the 50+ category shaking their heads and wondering, what is happening here. The ground has shifted under our feet and we naturally feel unsteady. And the problem is, it keeps shifting.

As another example, I am about to lead a conference call with approximately 40 university leaders from across the country talking precisely about this shifting ground. Events like the Virginia Tech horror, change the landscape forever. Universities will never be the same in terms of what is expected from them in major events involving safety and health.

Communicators: nimbleness is more important than ever.