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+


The greatest enemy of knowledge is not is the illusion of knowledge

Stephen Hawking


Editor's Note: Every now and then I publish an issue that allows me to give you a potpourri of relatively short bits of useful and interesting information, even if nothing is "feature length." I hope you enjoy...

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That...

National Campus Security Summit Webcasts Now Available

The edited streaming webcasts from the entire one-day "National Summit on Campus Security" hosted by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the University of Central Oklahoma are now available - free - at My Summit presentation on "The Fundamentals of Crisis Communications" is part of that collection. And anyone who would like to receive copies of the handouts from my presentation can do so by writing to me, They have proven to be one of the most popular reader-demand items I've offered to date, with 60+ requests since the last issue of "Crisis Manager."

Report to the President on Issues Raised by Virginia Tech

The official White House-initiated post-tragedy issues analysis is now available at

It's a good summary, a worthwhile read, but provides little depth. In my opinion, colleges and universities should use it merely as a starting point for identifying their own vulnerabilities. It is interesting to me that, as far as I can tell, no one with specific expertise in crisis communications was consulted by the team creating this report.

Free Subscription to O'Dwyer's PR Services Report

As somewhat of a curmudgeon myself, I'm a big fan of Jack O'Dwyer, whose muckraking challenges of the Public Relations Society of America and reporting on the entire world of PR continue to both inform and entertain readers. Jack is making a one-year subscription to his monthly newsletter available free to "Crisis Manager" readers - just go to There is no requirement to submit a credit card or make any future commitment.

Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism

I encourage all readers to spend some time browsing around the phenomenally useful reports and tools available from the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, MIPT is a non-profit, nationally recognized think tank creating state-of-the-art knowledge bases and sharing information on Terrorism. Armed with that powerful knowledge, everyone is better equipped to understand existing and growing terrorist threats.

Virtual Joint Information Centers Report Available from PIER System

(From "Crisisblogger", I hope my patient readers will allow me a little self-congratulations here. Once in a while, if you are lucky, you get a brief and fleeting sense that maybe what you are doing is making a difference and changing the world even just a little. Eight years ago, almost to the day, I became involved in a major oil industry disaster. It involved a fuel pipeline explosion that took three lives and since I was contracted to one of the oil companies involved, I became very involved in the communication response including serving as spokesperson for the company. I learned a lot and it was my first experience with an ICS (Incident Management System) response including the use of Joint Information Center or JIC.

The communications were a disaster-despite our best efforts. And it was largely about the lack of technology needed to meet the high demands for information from the media, neighbors, government officials, agency leaders, etc. Attorneys were involved-enough said. Out of that experience came my book (Now Is Too Late2) and a communication management technology now widely recognized as the leading urgent and critical communication management system. Out of it also came a concept which the technology expressed and made possible-the idea of virtual JICs.

The idea is simple: Joint Information Centers as conceived and currently implemented flat out don't work. Too slow. They depend on communicators from a variety of different organizations getting physically together in one room, getting all the needed technology hooked up, getting all the lists and tools they need to work with together, getting them organized, coordinated and properly directed. All that is very possible and happens all the time. It's just that it takes days, not hours or minutes. And minutes and hours is what you have to work with in these days of instant news, blogs, fulltime all the time news channels and the like. For long term events, it still is possible and necessary to pull a big JIC together-but that is after the virtual JIC has been at work.

The virtual JIC depends on technology. A complete and comprehensive technology platform that allows a dispersed team to function as if they were all in the same room. And it also depends on universally accessible technology-because a JIC by definition includes communicators from a variety of organizations that normally don't work together and frequently don't even get along. So using one organization's tool without providing full and complete access to all the players simply doesn't work.That was our concept. It works-it has been proven in major oil industry events, major government events (such as the G8 Summit), major weather events and natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina. It is at work all over the world right now.

We've been trying to gain attention and understanding of the concept of virtual JICs for over five years. And now, here is the point of all this, we have some validation. Out of the Ohio State Public Health Department, a researcher by the name of Brian Atkins has analyzed the concept of Virtual Joint Information Centers and in a very academic mode, has evaluated the idea and its potential. Here, at, is the strongest external, sober-minded, non-commercial and completely unbiased analysis of this idea since the days it first hatched - "The White Paper: The Virtual Joint Information Center, A Technological Tool for Public Health Emergency Communication.

I hope that Mr. Atkin's call for continued evaluation of this concept will bear fruit and that his study will result in national level recognition of the importance of this for public safety as well as for protecting and enhancing reputations.

Searchable Information on Crisis Management

Did you know that there are an estimated 400-500 articles on crisis management-related topics now archived at the Bernstein Crisis Management website,, and that the entire site is searchable by keywords? A recent reader inquiry made me realize that not everyone is aware of this fact.

Disaster Response Challenge

The Disaster Response Challenge is a unique two-day event exclusive to the British Red Cross. It provides an opportunity for participants to experience firsthand the issues and decisions faced by the British Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU) -- something that only a handful of people get to experience in a lifetime.

Built around a hypothetical disaster that unfolds in real time, this Challenge tests the calmest and most practical of you as you develop your own ‘Disaster Response Plan’. You will be taken out of your comfort zone, into an environment where in real life your decisions would be a matter of life and death.

The Challenge is run by British Red Cross staff including experienced members of the ERU, and experts in Disaster Response logistics. Areas covered include logistics, communications, first aid and casualty evacuation and delegate security.

When: 4 - 16 September 2007
Where: Bramley, Hampshire
Booking fee: £50
Minimum sponsorship: £500 (All money raised through this event will benefit the work of the British Red Cross)
Contact: Clare Murray on 020 7382 4653 or


Keeping The Wolves At Bay

Keeping the Wolves at Bay (available in print and PDF formats) remains, to my knowledge, the only commercially published media training manual in the world. It can be purchased at, and its pages can be modified to make it YOUR "name brand" media training manual if you are an agency or organization that frequently conducts training. If the latter subject is of interest to you, write to: $25 in hard copy, spiral bound/card stock cover and $10 as a printable PDF file.

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