Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn hits the nail on the head in a recent column about Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s mysterious illness.
Zorn takes Jackson's office to task for mishandling the public communication of Jackson's condition or whereabouts.
Zorn argues that, "The first rule of crisis management is that a trickle of bad news is worse than a sudden erruption." And he's right.
Bad news actually gets worse if released slowly, over time. Better to get it over with quickly, address it and move on. Conversely, good news actually gets better if released over time. After all, which would you rather have, several presents under the Christmas tree to open over several hours or just one?
When you don't address the bad news, it never seems to end. As Zorn puts it, "You can never put behind you that which is conspicuously under wraps."
Crisis communications is about dealing with bad news. It's uncomfortable, even painful. It usually results in bad publicity. But when reporters sense there's more to the story, that you're holding back or that the other shoe may drop, they'll keep asking questions and writing stories.
So, if you're dealing with bad news, deal with it.
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