From the “lessons learned” PR crisis communications department, look how the media reacted to – and praised – Delaware State University for its quick response to last year’s shooting incident that left two Washington, D.C. students wounded and a third being sought as the alleged gunman.
Next-day media coverage focused on the response time, earning the Dover, Del. university high marks in crisis communications rule #1 – respond quickly. Not only did administrators immediately place the campus in lockdown mode, but they dispatched representatives throughout the campus to knock on doors to deliver personal warnings, as many of the students were likely not at their computers or checking text messages just after the 1 a.m. shooting.
Don’t just take our word for it! Here is a sampling of actual newspaper headlines to prove the point that media will emphasize response time in its analysis/coverage:
“Quick Lockdown After College Shooting” (The Washington Post)
“DSU spread word quickly on campus” (The News Journal [Wilmington, Del.])
“Delaware State officials say Virginia Tech inspired fast response” (San Diego Union Tribune)
“Del. college reacts swiftly to shootings; Lessons of Va. Tech brings fast warnings after 2 students hit” (The Baltimore Sun)
“Delaware State’s Quick Response to Shootings Praised by Safety Experts” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Compare these headlines to the ones generated after the Virginia Tech shooting and you’ll see what a premium the media places on response time. We can’t think of a more compelling reason to make sure your crisis communications plan enables your organization to get the word out quickly – to protect the public as well as your organization’s reputation.