Usually, we yearn for media attention for the hard work we do. However, media coverage is not always a positive. As much as we strive for perfection, there is always a risk that someone will take issue with something you did or misunderstand you and that can result in negative media coverage. How you handle negative coverage will say a lot about you and your organization and may be the key to what the future holds for your organization.
Could you see the potential crisis coming and have time to prepare or has it taken you by surprise and the media is at the door? Preparation is still the key. Hopefully, you have a communications plan that includes the basics of what your organization does and who it serves. That is a start. In crisis communications reaction time is critical, but don’t pass on the fundamentals. Think first. Never comment without knowing what the problem is and how you will react to it. Stick to the facts and keep your emotions in check. Do not interject any editorial comments about people or circumstances. In the beginning, it is safe to honestly acknowledge the issue, say that you are looking into it and commit to getting back to the media shortly. Then pull your team together and layout a response that is honest, admits fault if there is fault and presents a solution. Remember that you want to control the story so keep news deadlines and the speed of the internet in mind.
The key is preparedness. The offense is usually who scores the points. Make sure you have your offensive line designed in advance.