Sooner or later your organization should expect to face a crisis. And guess what? The news is likely to break outside normal business hours. Will you be ready to communicate in real time? Part of being prepared is knowing how mainstream media outlets put news together when a fast-breaking story is evolving. In Chapter 6 we learned how reporters put their stories together. In this chapter, we focus on working with the media when dealing with an issue that threatens to irreparably harm your brand. We also discuss how to communicate with your customers in a crisis in Chapter 10.
In Chapter 6, I told you about my discussions with Jon Gripton, the senior news editor at
Skynews.com. As luck would have it, a crisis was unfolding in real time while I was speaking with him.
On the night of December 18, 2009, the Eurostar high-speed trains that link London with Paris and Brussels conked out deep inside the 50-kilometer Channel Tunnel. Hundreds of passengers were trapped in the tunnel and thousands of travelers were stranded on other trains approaching the tunnel and in London and Paris. But as hour after hour ticked by Eurostar said next to nothing about the cause of the breakdown, when trapped passengers would be rescued, or when service would resume.
The next day as I was speaking with him, Gripton and his team at
Skynews.com were racing to get the story in real time.
"Eurostar is in the middle of an absolute firestorm," Gripton ...