How to Deliver Bad News and Control the News Cycle

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Dana Haynes, PCC Public Affairs manager, recounts the day PCC experienced a “data breach,” in which a flash drive was stolen from a staffer’s car. Among the missing items were 2,900 names and Social Security numbers. While the PCC community geared up for a many-day-long marketing nightmare, the Public Affairs Dept. and others put into place a pre-existing action plan. The result was one day of stories, mostly framed in a neutral, fair light. Dana will discuss ways to deliver difficult news appropriately. He also will offer examples of other schools that prolonged the news cycle.


My notes ma be a bit lacking for the beginning of the talk. I was busy setting up a twitter account for @realjghill

Data was lost (we’re talking SSN’s here!)

Required to do after the event:

  • Contact the Police (5min)
  • Contact the people who were affected (few hours)
  • Contact the media (ouch)

We got to be the one to present the story (not the ones to respond)

We got to tell the story – and were very honest about it. This helped to rob the sensationalism from the story.

It was possible because we already had the relationships with the media outlets.

Dana is telling some great instances about how stories mutate. Hilarious!

Great group discussion.

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