Penn State: Crisis Communication 101

November 12, 2011 – Driving home from work last night, I was listening to a certain sports radio station that this week has become “all Penn State news, all the time”.

As the host and his callers went on and on about “not so Happy Valley”, and whether or not Penn State should play a football game today, I couldn’t help but think how tragic it is for the victims and their families now that this situation was become daily water cooler fodder. It’s also tragic for the students (who didn’t riot in the streets), and for their families that may be worried about them living on campus now, and who pay a lot of money to a school that promises to keep them safe.

What a media nightmare this situation has become. I wonder if the marketing and public relations professors at the university will use the school’s handling of this crisis as a real life example of what not to do when faced with a media problem. Certainly, it’s a terrible scandal, probably the worst any college has ever seen, but their actions are far from textbook PR, which is what is taught in their classrooms.

The school’s damaged brand it’s not very important in the grand scheme of things, and it pales in comparison to the suffering of those poor children. But it is quite ironic that it is a school widely known for public relations and communication.

On a much lighter marketing/PR note, I’m thoroughly enjoying Seth Godin’s blog these days.

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