Crisis Management Musts: Media Trained Leadership

Erik Bernstein crisis communication, crisis communications, crisis management, Crisis Prevention, crisis public relations, Crisis Response, Erik Bernstein, Jonathan Bernstein, media crisis management, media relations, media training, PR, public relations, reputation management, school crisis management, strategic reputation management Leave a Comment

If you’re not ready to be the face of your organization, don’t take the helm

When you’re the face of your organization, you need to understand how to interact with the media. It doesn’t matter if you’re CEO of a corporation, captain of a football team, or, as in the wrong-way example we’re about to look at, Superintendent of schools, you have a responsibility to represent your organization to the fullest.

A Boston teacher stands accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a student in Maureen Sablonski’s district, the type of situation that will (understandably) have reporters lining up for comment. Now, the Superintendent decided that she was fine with holding a press conference to discuss the situation, but things got weird from there.

Here’s what went down, as described on the 15-Seconds Blog, an amazing resource for analysis of media interviews from every niche imaginable:

Apparently, Sablonski held a news conference but instructed the media not to take video of her face. Amazingly, they complied and only showed the back of her head.

The Sup’s explanation for the bizarre order was that the story was not about her — and therefore her face was unneeded.

Her inexplicable action resulted in Fox 25 doing a five minute segment asking what she had to hide, whether she had some sort of phobia, and questioning her judgment. Note: five minutes is an eternity in TV. The segment ran twice as long as the original story about the accused creepy teacher.

Now that your interest is piqued, here’s the video:

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

It’s obvious that Sablonski either didn’t consult a crisis management expert before making this call, or if she did their advice was ignored. When you’re delivering details on a crisis situation, the LAST thing you want to do is give the media reason to dig for further negative info. You can bet those reporters are smelling blood in the water now, and will gleefully try to track down more wrongdoing from Sablonski’s district. Who wouldn’t?

The BCM Blogging Team

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