Benlowndes

a perspective on PR in social housing and regeneration

Tag Archives: crisis communications

Press gets lock in at last chance saloon

For weeks, I’ve listened to arguments about the press ahead of Leveson’s damning report today. It’s depressing, but not surprising, how quick people on all sides of the debate have been to reach judgements about the report, which appears at first glance to be thoughtful, proportionate and measured.

During the hearing, we’ve heard sickening tales of people traduced by media misconduct. It shouldn’t be forgotten how people like the McCanns, the Dowlers and Christopher Jefferies were treated at times when their lives were already under huge strain. Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and Charlotte Church (who was on Question Time tonight) have sounded at times like they are speaking for the country when calling for independent regulation of the press. It was painful to see experienced tabloid journalists Trevor Kavanagh and Nevile Thurlbeck speak on Channel 4 News tonight about the importance of a free media. Surely noone disagrees with this. But their performance tonight suggested that they don’t get what’s happening around them, or what they need to do to deal with it.

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Why I’ve stayed with my bank – until now

I’m a stickler for good service and can’t stand organisations who don’t deliver what they promise.

Being ripped off is even worse and will result in offenders being dumped. Train companies, utilities and firms like PayPal (one of the worst in my book) have borne the brunt of my complaints when I’ve known who to complain to.

On many occasions, I’ve been offered compensation as a sweetener, which I take and then leave. I’ve worked through the ‘big six’ energy companies and found them all to be a disappointment.

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Well earned gongs for North West’s best

I was entertained by former colleague John Quinton-Barber’s tweets from the CIPR’s North West PRide awards last night, with IPB looking like they were having another good night.

http://twitter.com/#!/johnqbarber/status/139462919288139776

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Twitter cases show PR may be better than legal action

It’s been a frenzied week for the media, which has taken navel gazing to new levels over the spectacular failure of lawyers to protect Ryan Giggs’ privacy. They may have succeeded for a while in keeping their client’s name out of stories of his alleged affair. But, as pressure mounted and newspapers’ displeasure at the fact that it was open season on Twitter grew, it was only a matter of time before traditional media named him. By the time John Hemming used parliamentary privilege to publicly name Giggs, the story had turned from a fairly trivial one to an issue of constitutional significance and no amount of legal heavy-handedness was going to suppress it. When the Sunday Herald broke ranks last weekend and named Giggs, public appetite for the story was huge – and resulted in a record number of hits on its website, despite the fact that item only appeared in print.

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Former colleagues win recognition for crisis work

Damaged homes in Irlam, Salford

My former colleagues at IPB Communications have built a reputation over the last 10 years for being the people you would want in your team when the going gets tough. So I was delighted, but not surprised, to learn from their newsletter which landed in my email box today that they have been shortlisted for another award for their stirling crisis management work with City West Housing Trust.

They were on hand after tenants’ homes were hit by a gas explosion in Salford, which saw more than 200 houses evacuated last year. The team manned the press office and worked around the clock for the best part of a week to deal with journalists’ queries, prepare breifings and ‘lines to take’ and be a friendly, unwavering voice of reason as the nation’s media turned its attention on the trust. It seems like they handled it in the typical ‘whatever it takes’ way that makes them so well respected within the sector – and, rightly, by their peers too.

Members of the IPB team recently travelled to London to meet the CIPR and discuss their work as part of their entry for the Excellence Awards. Hats off to them, and best of luck for the awards next month – I’ll be thinking of them on the night.

‘Andy Gray-gate’ highlights slack media practice

Andy Gray’s sacking today after another of his puerile outbursts (this time to colleague Charlotte Jackson last month, above) has taught him a harsh lesson. Someone of his experience should know that ‘private’ (as in off air) comments are still fair game if someone within earshot finds them offensive enough to share with the media. In fact, if you utter them in a room full of people, it isn’t very ‘private’ at all, and therefore probably best kept to yourself.

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Chill brings good (and bad) comms to fore

Bristol - we got off lightly

I was definitely hasty this weekend, when I blogged that the media overplayed the impact of the bad weather. They went a bit heavy on the blame game (as always), but things have definitely got worse since then, with today seeing the heaviest day’s snowfall in decades in some areas. Christmas plans have now been wrecked for many.

Having listened to the news, seen and heard from people about how ‘we’ are coping, there are two communication-related issues that hit home like a dose of frostbite.

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Cornwall’s comms challenged by flood crisis

Cornwall’s floods will have posed a huge challenge for the county’s public services and the communication teams that support them.

They will have needed to revert to crisis procedure, with a clear focus on getting vital information and services to areas that most need them, whilst responding to rapidly changing events.

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