One (PRISM) News Story, Many Companies in Crisis Mode

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James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (U.S.)

SEIDENBERG

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg

News this week about the existence of a secret U.S. government data collection program known as PRISM is a great example of how one investigative news story in just one influential publication can rock a major industry all at once. The revelations forced most of the major Internet players (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo! Apple)  to rush out with media statements and blog posts that suddenly put them on the defensive with millions of their customers about privacy, already a sticky issue for years before we knew about PRISM. They all said basically the same thing: that they didn’t know about PRISM and that customer privacy is very important. Blah, blah, blah. This of course was after the initial story in The Guardian that focused on Verizon’s confidential cooperation with the National Security Agency.

This should be a wakeup call to companies everywhere. What is the major media story in the works about YOUR company and/or industry? If you have no idea, maybe it’s time to think about what could be written/reported about your business that might not be so glowing — that could seriously harm your reputation. Then, get to work on a draft media statement that you can refine slightly if your nightmare becomes reality. In that statement, make sure you use people language, not legalese, if you want it to be taken seriously by the media and the court of public opinion.

Prism

Want to learn more about drafting protective media/social media statements for a possible business crisis? Need comprehensive media training (done in person and via Skype) so you are confident in facing the media? Need a crisis management/crisis communications plan that can be smoothly executed when a serious crisis hits your organization?

Email rich@richkleincrisis.com, call Rich Klein at (347) 926-3530 and also check out past episodes of The Crisis Show.

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