Archive for February 2009

Crisis Blog 2: Chris Brown and Rihanna

February 25, 2009

The night before the famous Grammy Awards, Chris Brown and Rihanna were involved is an extremely violent situation. The reason this is viewed as a crisis is because of the prominence that both of these individuals possess. Chris Brown allegedly attacked his girlfriend, Rihanna repeatedly on a small side street. A woman overheard the altercation on the street and called local authorities. By the time Los Angeles Police Department showed up on the site, Chris Brown had left the scene. Because the next night was the Grammy Awards, both performers did not attend the award show. At the last minute, different performers had to be contacted to take the place of Chris Brown and Rihanna. There were numerous days that went by and Chris Brown remained silent on the topic of this altercation that took place. After that long period time, this is the statement that was released to the media:

Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired. I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person. Much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and/or reported in the media is wrong. While I would like to be able to talk about this more, until the legal issues are resolved, this is all I can say except that I have not written any messages or made any posts to Facebook, on blogs or any place else. Those posts or writings under my name are frauds.”

I believe his statement is sincere. But because such a large period of time passed by without any statement by Chris Brown, the public looked down on him for this. Within a crisis situation, I have been told by my professors that you have 24 hours to react to a crisis. I am sure that the public already had a bad image of Chris Brown in their minds because they heard about what he did to Rihanna, but because his statement was released at such a later date, the public continued to think he was irresponsible.

9 Basic Guidelines for Media Relations in a Crisis

February 24, 2009

1- Accept Responsibily

2- Show concern

3- DON’T LIE!

4- Don’t hypothesize

5- Respond to all media needs

6- Feed the hog (give information to the media)

7- Develop key messages (talking points)

8- Dramatize the company’s responsibility

9-Don’t say “No Comment”

PRSA Real World Conference in Atlanta

February 23, 2009

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Real World Conference in Atlanta, GA on February 20, 2009. I had such a valuable experience while at this conference, I want to share it with everyone. At the opening of this conference, three representatives from CNN were present disucssing social media and the effects it had on the presidential election in 2008 compared to the election in 2004. It was interesting to see how times have changed and how public relations specifically had an effect on this. Social media is exploding!! Social media sites including: WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, PROpenMic, and LinkedIn are becoming more popular and you here about these sites everywhere now! They posed questions regarding journalism such as, “Where is print journalism going?” and “What are the effects of citizen journalism? Good or bad?” Some of these questions really make you think about the industry of public relations because it is so important to see where the industry is going so you can go with them.

I was educated about public relations internships available in the Atlanta area. This was extremely beneficial to me because that is where I want to go after graduation in May 2009. I had such an amazing experience networking with public relations professionals from Atlanta. I was fortunate enough to here professionals discuss many different areas of public relations including: non-profit, hospitality, travel, tourism, corporate social responsibility, and agencies. This helped me the most. I actually went into the conference being almost dead set on one specific type of public relations and left feeling completely different. I had no idea this conference would have such an impact on me, but trust me, I am very grateful.

Networking with educated and experienced public relations professionals was my favorite part. Everyone was warm, welcome, and willing to talk to you about anything. I learned skills regarding resume writing, cover letters, interview skills, and how exactly to network. I recommend attending this conference to anyone who is a PR major (junior or senior). It takes place once a year, every Spring semester. If you weren’t there this year, make sure you remember next year. I finally got the opportunity to see the light into public relations and you don’t want to miss that, I promise.

Crisis Blog 1: Michael Phelps

February 7, 2009

Olympic gold metalist, Michael Phelps, had a photo surface that was not particularly flattering, some may say. The picture was of Phelps smoking supposedly marijuana out of a bong. Due to the fact that he is a public figure, he released this statement after the picture had made way into the eyes of many fans of his:

“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”

From a public relations standpoint there are components of this statement that I agree and disagree with. From Kathleen Fearn-Banks book, “Crisis Communications: A Casebook Approach” she discusses Apologia Theory. Within this theory, Fearn-Banks goes on to describe three different approaches to responding to a situation such as the picture of Michael Phelps being released. The three approaches are redefinition, dissociation, and conciliation. Phelps used the conciliation approach which states an individual should admit what he/she did as well as apologize for his/her actions.

Phelps did indeed admit that the picture was of him and he was smoking marijuana. He also did apologize to the public and promise that this would not happen again. However, I do not agree with what he said when he stated, “I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way”. I do not believe that his age should be used for an excuse for his actions. He understands that he is a public figure and a role model whom should behave like one. The rest of his statement to the public was honest and genuine. Due to his decisions and actions, Phelps lost his endorsement with Kellogg’s and Rosetta Stone. Overall, his statement was effective because he took responsibility for his actions but modifications could have been made to make this more successful.