Online Newsrooms: Transforming Social Media

having a crisis? an online newsroom can help

Posted on: October 10, 2010

Crisis’s happen. They happen in everyday life to everyday people. We take them in stride, solve the problem at hand, and get on with our lives. However, this is not alway the case when you’re a large corporation. When a crisis does occur in a company, the PR team is faced with the difficult job of fixing the problem while maintaining a positive image in the public eye. Online newsrooms are the tool that these PR teams use when accomplishing that task. They allow the company to manage and control the message that is being sent.

Large companies are finding out first hand the importance of an online newsroom in the midst of a crisis. James Madden posted on iPressroom’s blog about some specific companies that have experienced this. He mentions how Toyota’s online newsroom helped them through a recent recall. The newsroom allowed Toyota to provide the information they wanted out there, to employees, consumers, and the media in a timely fashion. They were able to answer questions and maintain their image in a positive light throughout the situation.

Another company that used their online newsroom to manage a crisis was BP. They kept the public and the media informed on important information throughout the entire oil spill debacle. Their online newsroom really made it seem like they were proactively taking on the problem and doing absolutely everything in their power to right the situation and restore their image.

In Zachary Fenell’s article, “Internet Use in Corporate Crisis Management & Communication,” he explains why companies such as these were so successful in using their online newsroom when trouble came knocking. They give the company the opportunity to explain what happened or what is going on from their own perspective. It is almost like they are their own press.  Online newsrooms also allow the information the company wants the public to see, be easily accessible. People will know exactly where to go when they want more information.

It’s no secret that the press loves a good scandal, so why not give them a reliable, informative place to find information that is in your favor?

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4 Responses to "having a crisis? an online newsroom can help"

You use great examples of companies using their online newsrooms to solve crises. Another thing that might be good to mention is the benefits of establishing a relationship with media through online newsrooms before crises hit, so that they are more likely to help your company through hard times. It would be difficult to ask a journalist to look through archives in your online newsroom when a crisis hits because they will be so focused on current issues, so it’s easier if they have already been informed. Did you know that you can build an online newsroom using WordPress? This article, http://www.davidhenderson.com/2009/05/07/build-an-online-newsroom-using-wordpress/, outlines how WordPress can actually be a very helpful tool for creating your company’s online newsroom.

Crisis is a really important topic to cover when discussing online newsrooms. From what I have been reading about online newsrooms it seems very important for a company to utilize them to be transparent about a crisis. Especially since newsrooms aren’t just geared to journalists anymore, and all kinds of people invested in the company are viewers of the site. Reading some of your examples, like BP’s, made me curious about how companies handled crisis before they had their online newsrooms, when traditional media was the norm. It would be an interesting post for you to compare a company before and after they had an online newsroom. Did their crisis blow over faster because of the online newsroom? Where were people, including journalists, getting the information before they were getting it there?

Because my topic (ethical issues in the organizational use of social media) has a lot to do with reacting to and preventing crises I found this post very interesting and informative. I am looking forward to learning how using online newsrooms will benefit companies and their audiences in the future. One of the main selling points of online newsrooms, I think is the immediacy with which the information becomes available to involved parties.

I recently read an article about BP and how they have been managing the oil crisis. It’s a very interesting case for a case study. Along with Amanda, I’ve read how important online newsrooms can be in a crisis and how influential they can be on media stories. By using these rooms in a crisis, companies can share their side of the story in a way that’s convenient for the journalists. It would be very interesting to do a comparison post between a company that effectively used a newsroom in a crisis and one that did not.

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