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Glenn Halbrooks

What to Do When You're Faced with a Media Crisis

By November 19, 2012

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Most of us who work in media spend our time covering the actions of other people. But you should prepare yourself for the day you have to fight to survive a media crisis.

A photo of a panic button on a computer keyboard
Prepare yourself for a media crisis so you're not left hitting the panic button when something goes wrong.
Photo © David McGlynn / Getty Images
Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo on the children's TV staple Sesame Street is taking a leave of absence after being faced with sexual allegations. A man claimed Clash had a relationship with him when he was 16.

The man has since recanted the allegations, saying he and Clash were both adults when they met. But it's too early to know whether Clash or Elmo has suffered lasting damage and how the producers of Sesame Street intend to respond.

In Atlanta, Georgia, a longtime TV news anchorwoman is off the air after being charged with DUI following a car crash. Rival TV stations are posting the story complete with her mug shot and photos of her wrecked car. This story happened in the middle of the all-important November sweeps period, when TV stations try to boost their Nielsen ratings.

So the station is left without its anchorwoman, at least temporarily, while the other stations in town have a juicy news story to cover. A decision hasn't been made on whether she'll be allowed to return to the airwaves.

These two cases show the need to have a clear policy on handling bad public relations involving media employees. Some companies include a "morals clause" in the basic media contract workers must sign. Typically, it gives the company the right to terminate an employee anytime the person's conduct puts the organization in a bad light. An employee accused of a crime could be fired even without going to trial.

That means risky behavior, or even the mere accusation of it, can be cause for action. While companies need to have an action plan, employees should remember the consequences of bad publicity.

Update Tuesday, November 20: Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street after facing a new allegation

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Comments

July 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm
(1) darmowe sex oferty says:

There’s definately a great deal to learn about this topic. I love all of the points you made.

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