Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Crisis Blog 7: 10 Year Columbine Shooting Anniversary

April 21, 2009

On April 20, 1999 two gunmen entered Columbine High School in Colorado with full intentions on killing fellow classmates and teachers. The two men, Eric and Dylan, killed thirteen individuals and then they both committed suicide. This was a tragic day in our history and everyone can remember what they were doing and how they felt on this day. Now, ten years later it is the anniversary of this shooting. From many people on the outside, it may feel as though time has flown by but for the family and friends directly affected by this day, I am sure time has drug by.

Anniversaries are a very important aspect of public relations. If you are skilled and react quick enough to survive the actual crisis, you have to maintain your crisis management skills to get passed the anniversaries that come up every single year. There have been many different events and vigils that have take place on each anniversary of the Columbine shooting. This lets families, friends and the public pay their respects to the people who lost their lives this day.

Many people are wondering what has happended in 10 years to help prevent something like this ever happening again. Every school should have their own Crisis Communication Plan (CCP) to help aid then if a crisis takes places. There was a difference added to Columbine’s CCP after the shooting. There is an emergency box for administrators which now includes: an updated roster of staff and students, blue prints of the school and additional cell phones.

There were also many changes made within the district which included: school and district emergency management plans were implemented, mental health crisis responders were put into place, community crisis response teams were designated, an incident command system was set up and a student risk assessment process was created. All of these things are helping Columbine be more prepared in the event of a crisis.

From a public relations standpoint, make sure you understand that the media will approach your company on the anniversaries of crisis and you should refer to your CCP for suggestions on topics to discuss as well as express your sympathy to individuals that were affected.


Crisis Blog 6: Domino’s Pizza

April 21, 2009

Two individuals that worked at a Domino’s Pizza in North Carolina made a video with them both doing disgusting things to the Domino’s food that they were allegedly going to serve. However, they claim that this food was not served to actual customers. Both individuals are facing criminal charges for this act. There are many different videos that have been placed all over the internet of them doing these acts to the food at Domino’s but most of them are being taken down. There is a news broadcast that discusses both of the participants involved and what happened on this video they made.

Why does this involve public relations? How would you handle this if you were a public relations professional working for Domino’s Pizza?

This is a major issue that public relations professionals face everyday because the brand of the company that they work for is just as important as the company. This video surfaced on the internet with numerous Domino’s customers being able to view it. This is going to hurt the reputation of the company as well as drastically affect the sales.

This is what Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s Pizza had to say in response to the situation.

Within his statement Doyle does say that the store was shut down and sanitized. This is something that showed the public that he was aware of the problem and also taking the appropriate actions in order to make sure this store was clean. He also discuss how they are going to reevaluate how they hire new employees so individuals like these will not be allowed on the Domino’s Team. When Doyle says, “It sickens me that the actions of two individuals could impact our great system”. I believe this statement to the public was effective and reassure individuals that were bothered by this incident. Doyle was honest, informative, and motivated the correct the problem that took place in North Carolina at a local Domino’s Pizza.

Crisis Blog 5: American Civic Association Shooting

April 6, 2009

On Friday, April 3, 2009 a gunman killed 13 people and wounded 4 in the American Civic Association located in New York before committing suicide.  The American Civic Association helps individuals seek citizenship. This is said to be the 5th deadliest shooting in the United States in the last month. What are the causes and motives of these shootings? Is it the downfall of our economy in the United States or is it completely unrelated and just personal issues with the shooters? With such a tragic event, this type of event should be handled with sympathy.

From a public relations standpoint, if you are the PR professional that works for The American Civic Association and you are entitled to release a statement regarding this shooting at your company location do you know what to say to the public? To express sympathy and help ensure citizens that this won’t happen again? To show individuals that your company is a safe place to be? These are all things that need to be thought about if you are the person in the position to handle such a crisis. Your company should be prepared to handle something like this and to have an updated crisis communication plan (CCP). This will help when a crisis takes place because you can reference it at a time of crisis and the plan will include all necessary components to handling specific crises. These are several components that should be in your CCP including:

-Make sure CCP is updated every 6 months

-Crisis Policy

-Organizational Structure: crisis teams,  individual responsibilities

-Notifications: phone tree, order of contact



-Drills and programs

-Letters of agreement

-First-Response Issues

-Back up response team


-Quarterly crisis team meetings: to update plan, prepare for anniversaries and identify prodromes

Having this time of detailed and up to date crisis plan could really help you if your company is ever put into a crisis situation similar to the shootings at The American Civic Association. You can just pull out the CCP and procedure from there to tackle the crisis situation thoroughly and responsibly.

10 Things I Never Knew About The Eagle Print Shop

April 1, 2009

This is what I learned from going to The Eagle Print Shop:

1- Print newsletters on 11 x 17, 80 lb glossy text paper

2- Save your documents as a PDF file

3- If you know where you have stuff on your jump drive, your experience at Eagle Print Shop will be easier!

4- Link all of your pictures!!

5- If you need to get in contact with Eagle Print Shop e-mail them at :

6- Having personal contacts with individuals at the print shop WILL help you in the future!

7- CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow and black; RGB: red, green and blue

8- To print the newsletter it will be 89 cents for each copy

9- Eagle Print Shop uses acid free paper

10- Eagle Print Shop uses paper that is 30% – 50% recycled

Crisis Blog 4: Michael Vick

March 13, 2009

According to Fearn-Banks (2007) the Apologia Theory states, “an effort to defend reputation and protect image…but it is not necessarily an apology” (p. 51). Individuals may use this theory if they are making a public statement. During this statement, with the Apologia Theory, one can deny, defend, or explain their actions. This can help the public understand their perspective.

In 2007, Michael Vick, the former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, was convicted of dog fighting and sentenced to jail time in a federal prison. He did not make a statement to the press immediately after being convicted. However, this is what he said when he made his statement.

From a crisis communication stand point and considering the Apologia Theory how did Michael Vick’s statement sound to the media? First, he did apologize for all the things that he did. From a communication outlook, a sincere apology is almost necessary to gain the publics approval. In order to protect his image, Vick did apologize to his teammates and all kids that look up to him. When he stated his actions were immature which consisted of bad judgment and making bad decisions, I believe this helped the reputation he had with the public. By explaining, that he realized he acted in an immature way, the public was able to agree with him and could tell he was remorseful. Do you believe Vick used the Apologia Theory correctly? Did he defend his reputation and protect his image? Did he do this effectively?

Crisis Blog 3: Sugar Refinery Anniversary

March 11, 2009

On February 7, 2008 there was an explosion at the Imperial Sugar Refinery in Savannah, Georgia. During this explosion and fire, 14 employees lost their lives. When dealing with a crisis it is important to realize there are three stages of a crisis including: pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis. Within the pre-crisis stage, that is where Crisis Management Plans (CMP) are created as well as pre-drills take place. During the crisis is when time becomes and issue and responding to the media is crucial. Most individuals overlook the third and final phase of a crisis which is post-crisis. This is an evaluation period where individuals can figure out what worked and what did not.

An important part of the post-crisis phase is anniversaries. When a major crisis takes place and the media plays a a part in this, the media is bound to come back and look at the company during all the anniversaries. February, 7, 2009 marked the first anniversary of the Imperial Sugar Refinery explosion in Savannah, Georgia. This company held a memorial for the 14 employees that passed away a year prior by releasing doves into the air to represent those employees. I believe the company did an honorable gesture to honor these employees. It is always important to remember that if a crisis has come to an end that the media will still approach you on anniversaries and if this is not handled professionally, it can very well become another crisis in the media.

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.