The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management : How to Manage the Media in the Digital Age book cover
1st Edition

The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management
How to Manage the Media in the Digital Age

ISBN 9781439853733
Published March 14, 2011 by CRC Press
320 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

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USD $128.00

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Book Description

From the Japanese tsunami and the Egyptian revolution to the Haitian earthquake and the Australian floods, social media has proven its power to unite, coalesce, support, champion, and save lives. Presenting cutting-edge media communication solutions, The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management explains how to choose the appropriate language and media outlet to properly convey your message during and after a crisis.

Unveiling the secrets of how to manage the media in a crisis, the book examines how rapidly evolving social media and Web 2.0 technologies have changed the crisis management landscape. It illustrates the four distinct stages of media reporting during a crisis and details the information that must be provided. The author provides readers with a wealth of helpful tips and tools—including guidelines, checklists, and case studies that illustrate best practices in crisis media management. Divided into five sections, the book:

  • Examines how the kingdom of news has changed and considers the new hybrid model that is emerging
  • Identifies the four distinct stages in which both old and new media report a crisis
  • Addresses the use of spokespeople according to the four stages, as well as when to use the chief executive officer
  • Discusses media interviews, including how to handle news conferences, bloggers, and the importance of media training
  • Considers the communication aspects of crisis management—including how to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, Wikipedia, Flickr, and social media releases

The book’s resource-rich appendices include a checklist for briefing a spokesperson, sample media release, a step-by-step flowchart for creating a crisis communication plan, and social media policy guidelines. Complete with a detailed guide on what tools to use and when to use them, this book provides the techniques and understanding required to communicate effectively and avoid any potential bad press and embarrassment that could result from information mismanagement.

Jane Jordan-Meier was interviewed about leadership in a crisis and the stages of a crisis in the wake of the Murdoch phone-hacking scandal. She also discusses crisis management planning in The Sydney Morning Herald and in Daily Ovation. She was interviewed in August 2011 by Globe and Mail.

Discover more about the book, including a video of the author explaining how to turn media questions into gold and visit for a series of recent interviews.

Jane Jordan-Meier appeared in a video interview with Crisis Manager Melissa Agnes on July 3, 2012.

Table of Contents

Section I Media, Crisis, and New Reporting Tools
What Is a Crisis?
Unfolding Crisis
Crisis is triggered
A Crisis Stops the Show
Case in Point: Virginia Tech
The Role of Media in a Crisis
Social, Interactive, and Everywhere All the Time
Today’s News from Multiple Platforms
Old Media Play a Role in the Social Media Revolution: Social or Leave
Power to the People: The Rise of Hyperlocal News
Mainstream Media Are Still a Factor
Social Media’s Role in Crisis
Media Ethics? What Drives Traditional Media Behavior
Twitter: Is It a Fad or the "8 Bazillion Pound Gorilla"?
Pointless Babble: A Critic’s Take
Saving Lives, Saving Reputations
Breaking News: Twitter and the Media
The Power of 140 Characters
Rules of Engagement
Section I Summary
Section II Stages of a Crisis
Stage One—Fact-Finding Stage
Stage One Characteristics
Beware the ST Factor; Remember the Context
Remember the Context
Stage Two—The Unfolding Drama
Stage Two Characteristics
Stage Three—Finger-Pointing Stage = Blame Game
Stage Three Characteristics
Stage Four—Resolution and Fallout
Stage Four Characteristics
Section II Summary
Section III Spokespeople—Speed Matters
and Perception Is Everything
Golden rules
Communication style
To Chief Executive Officer or Not?
To CEO or Not?
CEO s and Social Media
Spokespeople and Social Media
Head and Heart
Role of the Frontline
Guidelines Please!
Training Please!
Policy Guidelines for Social Media
Can you Facebook at work? Policy first defense against risk
Guide—don’t stop—social media use
Section summary
Section IV Media Interviews—Rules of
Engagement in a Crisis
Understanding Journalists’ Questions
Techniques to Get Your Message Across
Bridging Technique
When You Do Not Know the Answer
Getting behind the Question
Question the Questioner
Give-and-Take in an Interview
Dealing with Difficult Questions
Q = Hypothetical
Q = Loaded
Q = Leading
Q = Either/Or
Q = Closed
Q = Multiple
Q = Guarantee
Q = Question from Hell
Handling Silence
Handling Interruptions
Never Repeat the Poison; Avoid Negative Language
How the New Media Are Changing the Rules for Interviews
Limiting Direct Access to Mainstream Media
E-mail and Blogs
Lights, Camera, Action—The Interview
Before the Interview
Know Your Audience
Know Your Key Message
Practice Your Message
Know Your Media
Know Your Dress
During the interview
After the interview
Television interviews
Dress for the Part
Face-to-Face Interviews
Animation and Gestures
Sound Good
Speak in Stand-Alone, Whole Sentences
Phone Interviews
Radio Interviews
Print Interviews
E-mail and Twitter Interviews
Dealing with Bloggers
News Conference
Managing a News Conference
Media Training
Who Should Be Media Trained?
Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stage Four
Group or Individual Training?
How Often, How Much?
Section IV Summary
Section V Communication—Rules and Tools
Why Communicate in a Crisis?
Key questions
What to Communicate?
Standby statement
To Apologize or Not—The Role of the Apology in a Crisis
Language in a Crisis—Fall in Love with
We; No Toxic Language,
Positive Language, Please!
How to Get Your Message Across
Where? New Media Tools
Web Messages: Content Brutal and to the Point
Media Relations
Protect Your Brand
Hash Tags (#)
Facebook Dark Groups
Facebook: The Future
Univision: An Alternative to Facebook—Useful for the U.S. Army
Video (Including YouTube)
Blogs Are a Must-Have in Your Crisis Media Toolkit
Social Media Release
Social Media Newsroom
Social Media War Room
What Tool to Choose When?
Integrate Social Media into Planning
Monitoring: Your Best Defense in a Crisis
Section V Summary
Appendix A: Guidelines for Briefing Spokespeople
Appendix B: Sample Media Contact Information Log
Appendix C: Sample News Release
Appendix D
Appendix E: Useful Resources
Appendix F: Social Media Policy Resources
Appendix G: Social Media Resources for Crisis Communicators
Appendix H: Things You Should Not Share on Social Media
Appendix I: Wordpress Statement
Appendix J: Social Media Embracing the Opportunities, Averting the Risks

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A former journalist, Jane Jordan-Meier has been at the forefront of media training for 15 years, developing unique and powerful methodologies in crisis media management. From her base in the United States, she works with corporations, government departments, and non-profit agencies in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. She is recognized as one of the world’s top media and crisis management experts.

Throughout her career, Jane has worked at the highest level of strategic planning and communication, including the Australian bi-centennial celebrations and the Sydney Olympic Games. Her clients range from experienced CEOs of global corporations to those doing their first media interviews. She works with organizations in crisis as well as those wanting to raise their profile with positive media interviews. Many of her programs and training have won awards from her peers in the public relations and communication professions.

In the 1990s, recognizing the need for executives to be highly skilled in handling the media, Jane co-established Media Skills, a media training consultancy. With former journalist Susan Templeman, she created a suite of methods for developing and delivering strategic media messages. This led to the development of a unique approach to managing crisis communication. The methodology has been licensed and used by a network of trainers around the globe.

Jane is a frequent guest speaker on crisis communication and media management at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, and North America. A licensed and accredited media trainer and coach, she holds a master’s degree in communication management. She has also taught communication, at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels in Australia’s top communication schools, as well as several professional development courses in Australia, New Zealand, and North America.


"Jane Jordan-Meier’s insights into crisis communication are based on her experiences over many years at the coalface, guiding CEOs and organizations through the toughest of times. Her book is a must-read for any communication professional seeking an understanding of the power of social media and how the media report a crisis."
—Robyn Sefiani, Managing Director, Sefiani Communications Group, Australia

"… in the highly interactive and networked world we live in, all communication professionals need to understand how to effectively work with the media during and after crises. This book is an essential resource for doing so. Written by a highly experienced media relations consultant and savvy social media expert, this book provides practical, accessible advice and easy-to-use and apply tools and guides—all brought to life through real-world case studies."
—Michaela Hayes, Past President, San Francisco Chapter, International Association of Business Communicators

"As a full-time media and crisis trainer, I read about a dozen new books on public relations each year. Few produce the number of true "a ha" moments that Jane Jordan-Meier’s The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management did. ... the book is packed with hidden gems that even the most seasoned public relations professionals can learn from. ... it’s well worth the investment. I highly recommend it."
—Brad Phillips, Author, Mr. Media Training Blog

"The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management: How to Manage the Media in the Digital Age is a full-blown training course in a book. Author Jane Jordan-Meier has used her vast experience in the media, PR and media-management to craft a resource that will be invaluable to all who face, or may have to face, a crisis. … I've no doubt that every good communication professional will read and gain from this book. So should every good CEO. For as Jordan-Meier points out, the "credibility factor for CEOs (2010 Edelman Trust Barometer) was 40%" only slightly above politicians at 35%, so surely a ready-made market. Highly recommended."
—Bob Selden, What To Do When You Become The Boss: How New Managers Become Successful Managers

"This book ticks all the boxes - it's well grounded in crisis communication theory, it's written with a clear understanding of adult learning, and it's incredibly practical and actionable, making it an easy book to get a lot of actionable stuff out of to help you be better prepared for your next crisis - before it comes. … I was impressed!"
—Public Affairs Manager, Pharmaceutical Industry

"This book is a must read for owners, officers, managers and key employees of any public or private business. Emergencies happen. Unplanned consequences of natural or man-made disasters can bring a business to its knees. I have been there. This book provides an outstanding, comprehensive plan that will keep you and your business focused on what is important during any emergency."
—Gloria E. Collins, Business Executive, California

"I use this excellent book in my course called 'Media in the Business World,' a course designed for graduate students who pursue careers as business leaders. In the course, the students study the rules of the media game as seen from three perspectives: the media professionals, the business world and the academia.

"With regards to the perspective of the business world, The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management is the most up-dated and substantiated book on the market. Some reasons:

  1. The author understands how the social media work and how important they are for information sharing. She keeps reminding the readers that the old rules of the game from the time of the "old media" are still valuable, but that companies need to consider social media just as important. She also describes the difference – the old media might set the agenda and are driven by concern for democracy, while the new media are fast and autonomous.
  2. The author has a background from professional journalism as well as a background from media training with companies. One of the values of the book is that it is based on an understanding of professional journalism. Here are no superficial suggestions on how to "spin", but quite the contrary with an emphasis on key concepts like trustworthy, transparent, timely, accessible, responsible, humility, respect, experience, passion; and lots of tools for business leaders who will not only survive but strive to become master players in the game. As an example the author writes about the investigative reporters asking critical questions: "questions are gifts, but not all are attractive. And they need to be grasped with both hands – in this case, with one’s mouth!" The message is that since you cannot change the rules of the game; play them to your advantage.
  3. The book contains many case studies, and these are of major crisis in the last 10 years – again updated information about the lessons that other companies learned the hard way.

"Having been a professional journalist and journalism teacher for 35 years myself, I appreciate that Jane Jordan-Meier explains the rules of the game to business people. To some extent, it makes life easier for journalists when all the players know the rules, even though it may also make it harder for journalists to get the "good story." However, if journalists’ feelings about media training might be mixed, my business students have everything to gain from reading the book."
—Kirsten Mogensen, Associate Professor, Roskilde University

"I would highly recommend reading the book and passing it on. It may well start the most important conversation your organization will have in 2012."
Chris Syme, Strategic Communications Expert, Principal of in Bozeman, Montana

"The book addresses all aspects of planning for and managing the media in a crisis situation … [and] provides proven methods and tips for managing the information flow, including harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, and other social media releases. Jordan-Meier brings to bear her unique experience in media training and crisis communication principles. A worthwhile resource for anyone responsible for dealing with the media in a crisis situation. 4 stars."
—ASIS International

"One of the best and the most thorough books on crisis management in the digital age that I have ever read … a must-read."
—Crisis Manager Melissa Agnes

"Jordan-Meier brings to bear her unique experience in media training and crisis communication principles. The case studies help to illuminate the issues. This book reflects best thinking and current practices in crisis media management. It would be a worthwhile resource for anyone responsible for dealing with the media in a crisis situation."
—David P. Sayer, in Security Management