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#04 Five Tips To Navigate Media and Public Perception During Crisis.

In recent weeks, the shocking incident involving the Ocean Gate Titan wreck has consumed headlines.

…It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and use an ongoing incident as a business lesson, especially when platforms like LinkedIn offer a stage.

However, to me timing and authenticity matters.

โ†ณ There might be merit in sharing insights proactively, but I think it’s important that we understand the full scope of an incident before labeling it – especially when using terms like “๐๐ž๐ฏ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ ” or “๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž๐๐ฒ”.

But I strongly believe incomplete information can be misleading.

Having said that, the value of preparation cannot be overstressed.

Iโ€™m no expert to talk about the technicalities, clearly the state agencies and coast guard inspections play pivotal roles in ensuring safety and protocol adherence.

โ†ณ As someone experienced in PR crisis management, my intent isn’t to admonish but to aid. It’s understood that the risks of unpreparedness are high.

With this spirit, in this week’s newsletter I’m sharing ๐Ÿ“ ๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฅ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ง๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐ ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ž๐๐ข๐š ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐œ๐ž๐ฉ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง for Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and Board members during crisis.

1. Media Platforms:ย Live news broadcasts and social media serve to update in real-time, but they will often miss out on depth, accuracy, and context.ย 

Even if the authorities have taken over the investigation.

Inform the public about the incident on aย prepared websiteย (this is part of crisis prevention).

  • Provide your own experts for the media. This way you keep the threads of communication in your own hands.
  • Pay attention to whistleblowers. Take whistleblowers and their impact on the media and the community seriously. Be sure to respond to them. Say what you are doing now and by when, if necessary.

2. Journalists and Editorial Sensationalism:ย Each journalist shows the highest level of professionalism. They also decide whether the news has the newsworthiness of its readership. However, there will be editors who will find the need to make their headlines attention grabbing. That’s how they land on-point and nuanced article content. They value relevance and timeliness, reliable sources and diversity of perspectives.

  • Show journalists that they work well and that you enjoy working with them. Like you, they are doing their job. Accept them as partners, because that’s what they are.

3. Social Mediaย is a minefield of negativity, misinformation, and hostility.

Diverse opinions are expected, but the volume of negativity and uninformed comments will be overwhelming.ย 

People write about stories that move them…

Regardless of whether you inform as a person concerned and are on the social media channels or not.

People are discussing about you and your company – with or without you.

That is why it is important toย inform regularly on social mediaย in case of a crisis.

4. Subject Matter Experts:ย In crisis situations, expertise matters. But some media outlets don’t really differentiate seasoned professionals andย armchair experts.ย 

  • Before the crisis, find experts from different fields who can speak to the media in different crises. This way you are sure what information will be disseminated.

If not, the media will find their own experts.

So keep crisis communication in your own hands.

The audience deserves insights based on facts, not just speculation.

5. PR and Crisis Communication Experts:ย Don’t waste time. Get a crisis communicator by your side in peacetime to prepare you for crises. So you can act faster and more efficiently, because the know you and your company.

Even if you’re media-savvy, consulting with crisis experts, can be a game-changer.

Their strategic insights and ability to manage narratives are invaluable, especially during crises.

Photo reference to Neue Zรผrcher Zeitung, Daily Mail, New York Times.

Ocean Gate Crisis Summary:

On 18 June, five people had set off with the submersible “Titan” to the wreck of the “Titanic”, which sank more than 100 years ago, at a depth of 3800 meters.

Less than two hours later, contact with the crew broke off and a large-scale search for the missing persons began.

The New York Timesย estimates the cost of the search operation, which lasted several days, at more than 50 million dollars.

Pieces of the submersible debris, including the nose of the submarine’s fairing, were finally found on 22 June barely 500 meters from the wreck of the “Titanic”.

All five occupants of the submarine were dead.

Safety concerns revealed by whistleblower

In January 2018, there were already doubts about the safety of the submersible . Oceangate technical manager, David Lochridge, made safety deficiencies public.

He was then sacked and sued by Oceangate for breaching trade secrets. Lochridge criticized, for example, that the only viewing window on the bow was only approved for pressure at a depth of 1300 meters and that highly flammable materials were used inside the submersible.

Oceangate was heavily criticized by the deep-sea diving community. Experts warned the company of “catastrophic consequences” should the “Titan” dive that far with passengers. Incidents have occurred on previous dives.

2. Long silence instead of immediate information:ย 

On the official website of the company, sub-pages for contacting and team members were deactivated. Apart from a media release with few facts, there were no further statements from the company.

Passionate about safety and effective communication?

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Join 175K+ readers of the Clifftide Times. Every Wednesday morning, we send insights from historical crises and our experience in assisting companies with crisis communications.

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ยฉ 2023 Clifftide Global Crisis Communitation

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