By now, I’m sure you have heard or read about the David Letterman scandal. Sure, these allegations make for an increase of ratings, widespread water cooler chats and some interesting points of view about the CBS funny man. But all jokes and opinions aside, what happens after the release of these statements and fingers are pointed disdainfully? What is the role of a PR professional working with the show and network? This is when damage control and crisis communication sets into overdrive, and communication professionals begin to mold situations to their client’s favor.
It is always advisable to get out in front of bad news, so David Letterman told the story in context, which did not allow for the story to be owned by outside observers who may not have the same interests in mind. There are some exceptions, of course. The last thing you want is to create a news story when otherwise no one would pay attention.
That clearly would never be the case for a celebrity like Letterman, but for lesser known executives that is always the balance that must be struck.
In the end, this fiasco has revealed that the true face of media has changed. It seems that every average Joe has become a citizen journalist heard by sizable audiences. This changes the game for those who hope that they can quickly sweep it under the rug after admitting their wrongdoings. At the same time, if Letterman hadn’t admitted it all, it would have eventually become known and the wrath of the media would have been ten times as vicious. It is always important to keep in mind that a successful public relations campaign does not aim to convince the public that a bad thing is actually good, but instead helps to alleviate the damage.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member, Stephanie Loiero.