Bernstein Crisis Management. Crisis response, prevention, planning, and training.

Crisis Manager Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management

© 2007 Jonathan Bernstein
Circulation: 4,000+
Estimated Readership: 15,000+


Remember the term "vaporware" to describe fabulous software programs that are going to be produced...soon...but never actually materialize? Too many crisis preparedness plans are like vaporware -- long on delusion (of self and others), short on substance.

Jonathan Bernstein


Best Analogy Contest Winners

You'll recall that, a month ago, I announced a contest, inviting readers to submit the best analogy for failing to plan for crises. I gave a few examples, and asked readers to fill in the blank in the following sentence:

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as____________________.

Prizes were offered for the best three answers, with a special prize for the funniest as well and leaving open the possibility of a prize for the strangest.

There were dozens of entries from readers worldwide, and the judging committee (me and Bernstein Crisis Management Creative Director Celeste Mendelsohn, aka my wife) chortled through them all. There were a number of honorable mentions, but we narrowed the field down to the three best answers and a special prize for the answer which was both the funniest AND the strangest. So let's do a countdown from third to first, starting with...

THIRD PRIZE goes to Brandie Webb, who will receive her choice of any item from, for this clever entry:

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as "Neglidity" - a combination of neglect and stupidity. Or, perhaps, the same as "morect," the state of being a moron and participating in neglect.

SECOND PRIZE goes to Anita Sorensen of Crisisplan BV, The Netherlands, who will receive her choice of any item from for this entry.

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as shooting a man to the moon and THEN starting to think about a way to get him home.

FIRST PRIZE (drum roll, please) goes to Lt. Sunshine Glen Lemme, M.S., Emergency Manager, Firefighter, EMT, Hazmat Tech, Director Continuity & Compliance for Gurney's Inn, who will receive her choice of one item each from and for this gem.

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as walking down the street naked and suddenly realizing you're not dreaming.

FUNNIEST and STRANGEST ENTRY came from Jennifer Breton Dearborn, who for this entry wins an autographed copy of "Keeping the Wolves at Bay: A Media Training Manual," unless she already has one, in which case she can have my two teenagers.

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as not following a clear liquid diet before a colonoscopy.

HONORABLE MENTIONS follow, all of whom win a free one-year subscription to this newsletter.

Not having a crisis management plan in place, with training, before a crisis happens, is the same thing as...

...putting your neck in a noose and having someone slowly, slowly tip the chair away that you are standing on. (Tanna McKeon, Project Mgr. - Green Co. Emergency Management)

...going to the Superbowl with a baseball team. (Annie Prange, ABCP, ITIL, Program Manager, Business Continuity, Manufacturing, Research In Motion Ltd.)

...watching a wildfire roar into your backyard and then running to Home Depot to buy a garden hose. (Art Jones, Communications Consultant, Saskatchewan Environment)

...throwing your baby in the deep end to teach him to swim. (Pamela Baggett-Wallis, CEO, The Crisis Communicatrix)

Prize winners - please email me to say what you'd like from the site(s) at which your prizes are located and give me your full "snail mail" addresses, including phone number. If you are choosing an item with size or color options, let me know what those are as well.

Editor's Note: I was delighted, as a crisis management professional and ezine editor, to receive an email from Business Wire's Serena Ehrlich telling me about the new "Google Comments" service. I asked for permission to reprint and she led me to the more complete announcement at the Business Wired blog, which is what you'll find below.

Google Comments Offers New Opportunities For Communicators
By Serena Ehrlich

One of the goals of our Business Wired blog is to provide readers with better tools for communicating their messages in the ever-changing media landscape. Today we are happy to highlight a service we've been following with much interest that we and our friends in Google News thought would be of value to Business Wire clients.

Earlier this year Google News launched a comments feature that allows individuals or organizations that are mentioned in news articles to add their own comments. Comments are then served up alongside those articles on Google News.

Josh Cohen, Google News' Product Manager explains: "Google News has always tried to present as many sources as possible to give our users a wide spectrum of views on the news. Comments is an experimental feature that we believe will continue this goal by letting readers see exactly what people in a story think about current news. We think this will help us increase the number of diverse and meaningful points of view on the news."

So how is this different from any comment section or discussion board? Well, on Google News only persons or organizations who are specifically mentioned in the story can comment. Google News then contacts the person submitting the comment or others in their organization to verify their identity. As a result, each story is expected to have only a handful of highly relevant comments that give readers a more in-depth look at topics in the news. Cohen adds: "Their insight will both help readers understand the news, and cover views that may not be well-published or well-understood within the current coverage".

For PR professionals and marketers, this is an excellent opportunity to provide greater detail or clarifications when their press releases receive media pick-up. Also, it creates a new channel to follow-up on a press release with updates, success stories, or links to other relevant stories. Finally, it is another form of reaching out to your audience and participating in the conversation. While these comments differ from commenting on blogs or engaging in social networks, they can be a valuable part of the new communications mix.

So how can you comment on a story that is relevant to your company or client? According to the instructions on Google News you should send an email to containing the following information:

  1. Your comment (hyperlinks allowed, but no attachments)

  2. A link to the story you are commenting on

  3. Your contact details: name, title, and organization

  4. A way to verify your email address

Verification is one of the central components of Google's comments feature. Therefore it is highly recommended to provide as much information that Google News staff can use (for example adding contact details of persons who can verify your credentials, or, if you are submitting a comment on behalf of a client, demonstrating that you are indeed authorized to speak for them). Keep in mind that Google News will not edit comments once the sender is verified, so they will be posted exactly as you emailed them.

So the next time your press release or related articles are shown on Google News and you feel you have more valuable input to share, this can be a great new outlet. Please look at the Google Comments instructions page for more details.

Please let me know if you have any questions about Business Wire or Google News Comments or check out the Business Wired blog.

Serena Ehrlich is a Senior Account Manager at Business Wire and a Membership Co-Chair, National Investor Relations Institute - Los Angeles. She may be reached by phone at 310-820-9473 x122 or by email to

Comment from Jonathan Bernstein: How often have you and I seen press releases from people whose interests are "adverse" to our organization, or our client organization, and not had a chance to directly respond to them WHERE THEY APPEAR? Even if your Google Comment is fairly brief, if you can work in a link to more info, you'll do very well. I think that even BW hasn't realized how many ways this could be used for crisis management purposes and I hope to report -- or have other readers report -- on their successes in this regard.


Keeping the Wolves at Bay 3.0 Reviewed

"Keeping the Wolves at Bay" is much more than another media training guide - it is perhaps one of the most concise, insightful, useful and savvy guides to strategic thinking about reputation issues available.

Gerald Baron
Founder & CEO of PIER System and host of

"It's like a Swiss Army knife -- lots of cool tools in a compact package. In case of emergency, grab this."

Steven R. Van Hook, PhD
Publisher, About Public Relations

The spiral-bound print manual is available for $25, the PDF version for $10. Both can be ordered at Jonathan Bernstein also offers on-site media training worldwide, using this manual as the basis for training. Write to

Disaster Prep 101

Bernstein Crisis Management is pleased to present one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly family preparedness texts available today. "Disaster Prep 101." by Paul Purcell, goes above and beyond the simplistic "72-hour kit" concept and provides simple, yet detailed educational material that will drastically improve the ability of any family to respond to all manner of disasters or emergencies. This preparedness package contains over 400 pages of well-organized, original preparedness material written in an easy-to-understand, non-panic format; 80 pages of family data forms and worksheets (many of which are also useful to the employer); and a 2-CD set containing two interactive and searchable links collections for additional educational sources; all the family data forms and worksheets in softcopy format; and a complete emergency reference library of over 450 additional books and training manuals! US$59.95. Available here.


Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. has formal or informal co-promotional and mutually beneficial business associations with a number of the services we mention periodically in this newsletter. No, we can't go into details because that's confidential, proprietary, etc. But our relationship is NOT "arm's distance" and you should know that, since we regularly write about these services as we use them for crisis and issues management or other purposes. That said, you should also know that Bernstein Crisis Management sought the relationships because its staff is convinced that these services are the best of their kind for Bernstein Crisis Management's needs and those of its clients. If you have any questions about these relationships, please contact Jonathan Bernstein, (626) 825-3838.


Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.,, a national crisis management public relations agency providing 24/7 access to crisis response professionals. The agency engages in the full spectrum of crisis management services: crisis prevention, response, planning & training. He has been in the public relations field since 1982, following five-year stints in both military intelligence and investigative reporting. Write to


GUEST AUTHORS are very welcome to submit material for "Crisis Manager." There is no fee paid, but most guest authors have reported receiving business inquiries as a result of appearing in this publication. Case histories, experience-based lessons, commentary on current news events and editorial opinion are all eligible for consideration. Submission is not a guarantee of acceptance.


When I find a site that I think will be useful to my readers or site visitors, I put it on our Links page. If you have a site that would be of specific use to crisis managers and want to discuss a link exchange or other cooperative effort, please write to me,


All information contained herein is obtained by Jonathan Bernstein from sources believed by Jonathan Bernstein to be accurate and reliable.

Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, neither Jonathan Bernstein nor Bernstein Crisis Management is responsible for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Bernstein Crisis Management and Jonathan Bernstein make no representations and disclaim all express, implied, and statutory warranties of any kind to the user and/or any third party including, without limitation, warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose.

Unless due to willful tortuous misconduct or gross negligence, Jonathan Bernstein and Bernstein Crisis Management shall have no liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to the user and/or any third party.

Under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

A service of this newsletter is to provide news summaries and/or snippets to readers. In such instances articles and/or snippets will be reprinted as they are received from the originating party or as they are displayed on the originating website or in the original article. As we do not write the news, we merely point readers to it, under no circumstance shall Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein be liable to the user and/or any third party for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever due to the distribution of said news articles or snippets that lead readers to a full article on a news service's website, even if Bernstein Crisis Management or Jonathan Bernstein has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Authors of the original news story and their publications shall be exclusively held liable. Any corrections to news stories are not mandatory and shall be printed at the discretion of the list moderator after evaluation on a case-by-case basis.


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Articles in "Crisis Manager" were, unless otherwise noted, written and copyrighted by Jonathan Bernstein. Permission to reprint will often be granted for no charge. Write to