Southerman’s audiences will likely include hospital patients and their families, employees, the media, and community members. His questions will likely focus upon the following. Southerman immediately begins making calls to hospital administrators and health officials to establish the facts of the situation. He glances at his phone and notices that two reporters —one from the local television station and another from the nearby metro daily newspaper —have each called several times.
They are already working on stories and plan to run them whether hospital officials return their calls or not. Once Southerman has tracked down all the details, he begins to draft an initial media statement and news release for the television and newspaper reporters. He also knows he needs to get busy assembling a news conference for tomorrow morning. This will require fact sheets, a background paper, and other written pieces that the hospital’s chief administrator will need to have in hand when she addresses members of the media. As you can see, Southerman is concentrating on analysis and judgment, the two FAJA Points he needs to understand this public relations crisis and to prepare the communication pieces that will help hospital administrators resolve it.
These public relations pieces will become part of an overall crisis communication plan to include news releases, media statements, fact sheets, backgrounders, and perhaps position papers. Once Southerman has written these pieces and gained management approval, he will post them to the hospital’s website, update the hospital’s Facebook page, and notify his media contacts of the pieces via Twitter.