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After the Incident: 10 Rules for Dealing With the Media

Jeffrey Greenberger Comments
Continued from page 1

For the most part, the statement is all you will actually know the first time you speak with the media. Notice it does not include the number of units broken into, how the theft occurred, whether there was any breach of security systems, what was stolen, if there is videotape of the incident, etc. These are not the facts you should give to the press.

No. 4: Do not think you can “help” the media.

There is no such thing as helping a story and any attempt to help violates rules one through three. Stick to the facts, even if you think you can help “guide” the story or you worry it will be mischaracterized if you do not give out more information. Certain elements may be mischaracterized anyway; do not risk adding any fuel to the fire.

No. 5: Never let the media on the property.

While you cannot stop media from videotaping, photographing or broadcasting from across the street or down the block, you can stop them from broadcasting and photographing on your property. Never let them broadcast from your property, particularly in front of your facility sign. If the media does come onto the property, ask them nicely (you may be on tape) to leave once, tell them they are trespassing; if they do not leave, ask the police for assistance.

No. 6: Check your sign.

If you have a message board that changes automatically or with letters you slide on and you are currently advertising “safe, secure, clean units available,” change the message without drawing too much attention to yourself. A sign touting “safe or secure” in the midst of a break-in could become fodder for questions in any news story.

No. 7: Do not feel threatened by any statements the media makes.

If you do not talk to the media, they will claim they tried to reach you and you would not respond or had no comment. This is often inaccurate. You do have a comment, it is in writing, and you provided it to any media member who asked for it.

No. 8: Express regret without admitting guilt or liability.

You can always say, “We regret this incident happened.” Don’t admit guilt or that anything that happened was the result of any omission or failure on your part. For example, you should never say, “We have been having trouble with the gate for the last few weeks and it does not surprise me that someone finally took advantage of this.”

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