The Internet Newsletter about Crisis Management 
 Editor: Erik Bernstein 
 Publisher: Jonathan Bernstein

"For Those Who Are Crisis Managers,
Whether They Want to be or Not"

2014 Jonathan Bernstein

When Governments Do Reputation Management

Volume XVI, Number 1

January 20, 2015     

Just a Thought  

"There are two kinds of people in America today: those who have experienced a foreign cyber attack and know it, and those who have experienced a foreign cyber attack and don't know it."

- Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
From the Editor

The U.S. government has taken a great deal of flak regarding the Sony hack, whether it was accusations that it should have done more to protect companies from foreign attack or doubt regarding statements that there was enough proof of North Korea's involvement to make a firm statement to that effect. Although we typically discuss reputation management in terms of business, government entities need it as well, and a NY Times story may be evidence the U.S. government has launched its own reputation management campaign to sway public perception of its part in events surrounding the entire Sony mess.

Citing a combination of information from former officials, computer experts, and a "newly disclosed N.S.A. document", the Times is reporting our government has had access to North Korean networks, including the base of operations for hacking unit Bureau 121, since at least 2010 thanks to specialized malware inserted by our own cyber-spies. It was reportedly data gathered from this effort which led President Obama to be able to charge, for the first time, a specific government with launching a cyberattack against targets here in the States.

Of course, there still remain questions regarding why the agencies involved didn't spot, or if they did why they didn't act on, the phishing attacks and subsequent access hackers gained to Sony's systems, as well as the massive amount of time they spent roaming the systems to identify key files and determine the most effective ways to destroy data and otherwise disrupt business, questions which may never be answered simply because our own security forces don't wish to fully tip their hands about their capabilities (or, let's be realistic, weaknesses).

Overall, I believe sharing more information was a smart move from the U.S. government. Although we would typically advise businesses facing questions about their practices to share more of the story than they did, when you factor in the issue of national security and secrets that may expose more parties to danger a certain lack of transparency becomes understandable.

Is it the perfect response? No. Will it go a long way to help convince the public that the finger-pointing at North Korea isn't just a smokescreen? I believe so.

- Erik


Interested in reprinting BCM articles or blog posts?
We're happy to give permission for material to be reprinted in hard copy or online!

If you find something you would like to reprint, simply submit a request to jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.



Our blogs on the Bernstein Crisis Management page and at the Free Management Library cover topics ranging from reputation management, to social media, to crisis management case studies and more. 
In this section we take look at some of the most popular posts from recent weeks:

Your organization's leadership is critical to success in any tough situation. In this post, we take a look at Board Members and Their Role in Crisis Management, and offer advice to improve their effectiveness in said roles.

Disarming Social Media Attacks is a skill you WILL need at some point, and learning now will save you headaches down the road.

Cyber crime made a major impact in 2014, and shows no sign of slowing down this year. Reviewing one of the biggest cyber crises of last year, we hear thoughts from Jonathan Bernstein on the Sony Hack and Next Steps.

It's never good when the organization tasked with setting the bar on handling a specific crisis is having issues, and that was just the case when the CDC failed to properly secure live Ebola samples in its facility. Ebola Handling Error Bad Sign for CDC reviews the mistake, and looks at the impact it could have on the government agency.

Backlash Over Facebook's "Year in Review" came quickly after many voiced displeasure over being automatically reminded of less-than-happy events that occurred over 2014. Do you think the social networks response was enough?

In what was nearly a repeat of the Amy's Bakery meltdown, Knee-Jerk Crisis Management Hurt Black Milk Clothing big time. No matter how much you want to defend your brand, nasty statements and mass deletion is never the answer.

Hackers typically steal customer data, credit card numbers, and other private information, but they can also cause real physical damage. Case in point, Hackers Wreak Havoc on German Steel Mill.

Cyber crises have been a major theme of our blogs recently, partly because they've been making headlines, but also because there is a clear lack of preparedness to cope in all fields of business. Crisis Management Musts: Training Employees to be Cyber-Safe looks at a few simple things you can do to keep your organization secure. 
Apropos of Nothing

I enjoyed my recent participation in the University of Oregon's "Guest Executive" program so much that I would love to do more of the same at other schools that aren't TOO far a trip from my Los Angeles-area base. Over a two-day period, UO had me guest lecture/teach at four PR-related classes and make an "open to the public" speech. They covered all travel costs and a modest honorarium.  
If you can do the same, please contact me, jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Bernsteins Available to Deliver Free Guest Lectures, Q&A Sessions


Jonathan alone, or the team of Jonathan and Erik Bernstein, are available at no charge to deliver guest lectures and host Q&A sessions with college classes via Skype or Google Hangout. Our latest presentation was to Karen Freberg's social media class at the University of Louisville (shout out to any readers from the #Freberg14 crew!).


The lectures are fun for us and students, and we're more than happy to allow recording for your future use. All you need at your end is a single computer with webcam and a strong broadband connection for us to appear in your classroom in real-time.   


Contact us for more info!


Attention Corporate Boards of Directors (and those who serve them). 


If you're connected with a corporate board of directors in some way and think that board would benefit from having a veteran crisis management pro amongst its membership, please contact me. -- Jonathan



Business Announcements 

(aka blatant self-promotion) 


Preparing Candidates for C-Suite Interviews

In 2014, a client familiar with Jonathan Bernstein's media training techniques suggested that the same methods would help her husband, a candidate for a C-Suite position at several companies, be better focused and prepared for his interviews. She was right and, as he moved through the interview process, the candidate received a number of one-hour trianing sessions by Jonathan, via webcam. That candidate is now the CFO of a $23 billion company and is available as a confidential reference. 

Jonathan Bernstein is available to provide the same training to others, write jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com

Are Your Social Media Managers Crisis Trained?

A solid social media manager has quickly become a must-have for organizations of any size, and can make an immense difference by driving in customers and building your positive reputation online.

The problem is, the vast majority are simply not equipped to even identify building crises, much less take the steps necessary to cope with and mitigate the damage that can result.

That's where we come in.

Bernstein Crisis Management is now offering crisis management training for social media managers, both independent and in-house, as well as social media firms.

For an overview of our services, estimates, or more information, contact erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Traditional Social Media Training

Want to get your feet wet with social media but don't know where to start? Maybe you have accounts, but aren't sure what to post, or how to reply?

Being active on social media is a must these days, but you have to do it right. Erik Bernstein, Bernstein Crisis Management's Social Media Manager, now offers social media training sessions in person or via Skype for groups and individuals.

For questions or pricing info, please email erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com


Expanded Crisis Manager Bookstore 


We've recently expanded the Crisis Manager Bookstore to include offerings from esteemed colleagues like Melissa Agnes, Gerald Baron, Chris Syme and Jim Lukaszewski that cover topics from crisis communication and traditional PR to social media and cutting-edge crisis management.  We'll be adding other authors we admire in the weeks ahead. 

Visit the new Crisis Manager Bookstore to see all of the  material available now!


Keeping the Wolves at Bay: Media Training 

Book Cover JPG

Learn how to deal with traditional or social media during a crisis in this educational and entertaining guide from

Crisis Manager publisher Jonathan Bernstein. 


$25 for hard copy, $10 for PDF.


Head to the Crisis Manager Bookstore for more information and/or to purchase.



Whether you're a seasoned manager, aspiring up-and-comer, or student of crisis management, Jonathan Bernstein's textbook,Manager's Guide to Crisis Management will put you in control of any situation. 



Guest Authors

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.


About Us


   Erik Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is both publisher of Crisis Manager and 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 Jonathan at: jonathan@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Erik Bernstein is editor of Crisis Manager and Social Media Manager for Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

Write to Erik at: erik@bernsteincrisismanagement.com.

Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. is located at 700 S. Myrtle Ave., #404, Monrovia, CA 91016. Telephone: (626) 825-3838.


Legal Disclaimer (aka the small print)

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.


In This Issue
Just A Thought
Apropos of Nothing
Quick Links