Media Minute: Get ahead of bad news
By Jerry Brown, APR
One of the basic tenets of crisis communication is that you should get ahead of bad news. If you know a bad story about you is inevitable, it’s often best to tell it first.
You’ll have a better chance of getting your version included in the first — and, with luck, only — round of coverage. And it’s hard to avoid looking defensive when you’re responding to a story that paints you in a bad light.
Armstrong, of course, hasn’t done that. A recent New York Times story quoted sources as saying Armstrong’s considering coming clean because it’s his only hope of resuming his career as an athlete.
Since then, he’s scheduled an interview with Oprah that will air later this week.
Armstrong’s in a tight spot. If he finally confesses to doping while he was winning all those bicycles races, he’s handed damning evidence to prosecutors and plaintiffs in several civil lawsuits against him.
But if he uses his interview with Oprah for another denial or he tries to have it both ways by not quite admitting but not quite denying his guilt, he’ll dig the hole he’s in even deeper.
What will he do? We’ll find that out later this week. With leaks and promotions from Oprah, we probably won’t have to wait until Thursday.
In the meantime, some advice: It’s usually best to get ahead of bad news whenever you can. And denying the undeniable just makes things worse.
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros radio show, KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archives. And check out Jerry’s new content-focused blog at www.JerryBrownPR.com.