How to Talk to a Reporter During a Crisis

The scenario is all too familiar:  Bad news breaks, and a spokesperson is put on the spot by the reporter. When asked a difficult question, the spokesperson stammers, mumbles a feeble response or, worse, utters a ridiculous answer. You can see the tension in his face. The interview is not going well.” … an excerpt from Frank Zeccola at the PR Cafe on Blog.

Frank reviewed my IABC presentation and new book, When The Headline Is YOU, and described very clearly the trepidation everyone feels when they talk to a reporter, especially during a crisis.

He covered some of the really important aspects I addressed in my presentation and book.

Issues like;

  • Create a Value Compass
  • Understanding how the media develops the characters in its stories
  • Avoid being taken out of context by keeping it simple
  • Take your lawyer’s advice … at your own risk: Apologize to gain trust
  • Amp up emotion and concern
  • Know when to use negative words

And last but not least, “Take it in StrideFrank wrote about my IABC presentation and book in his review, “it can be particularly difficult to respond when you’re put on the spot without much notice.” He then summed up my advice very succinctly: “Remember to breathe. Remember your value compass. And remember that your stakeholders need to know how much you care.”

Frank knows PR. He is the author and editor of The Big Book of Brilliant PR Ideas – a book of case studies profiling 100 top PR campaigns of the mid-2000s.

You can read Frank’s entire review here for more information.

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