So, once you get over the shock of seeing your own blood, you usually go home where Dr. Mom cleans the wound out with something that hurts like heck to prevent an infection, then puts a Band Aid on it and tells you to go out to play again until dinner is ready.
|Dr. Mom making things all better|
As a public information officer, we are faced with this dilemma whenever our organization has bad news to deliver. There are some - especially those who are in the legal profession - who believe in releasing only what is absolutely necessary to satisfy the reporter's request. That's it. No more.
Unfortunately, this approach rarely works. As one bit of information is given, it frequently leads to follow on questions. And, as the reporters set to work digging in the area you don't want them to dig into, additional information is bound to be discovered, prolonging the life of the story. After a while, the story may even cease to be about what the story was originally, instead becoming about the obfuscation itself.
Think the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Watergate. Iran Contra. In each of these cases, the slow release of bits of information was like blood in the water, attracting reporters who knew that there was more - much more - to discover the more they dug.
|If you don't come clean fast, the media can make the story about the lack of cooperation|
Remember, we are all human. And, everyone - the public, the media, colleagues - will forgive mistakes. They will forgive miscalculations. They will even forgive crass stupidity if that's what landed your organization in hot water to begin with.
|Kevin Durant knows the importance of admitting he was wrong|
The reality is that the maximum disclosure of information in the shortest amount of time shows reporters that you respect their time, their efforts and their intelligence. It also shows that your organization is transparent, and willing to take steps to correct issues as they present themselves.
So, when faced with a difficult situation, go ahead. Rip that Band Aid off. You'll be happy you did.
Tom Iovino, Public Relations Strategist
Hillsborough County, Florida