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01 August 2001

Keep your powder dry?


Your organisation has just been bagged on an internet news site. What do you do?

Respond, in the hope that you will turn the situation to your advantage? Lie low and hope it will go away?

These days, Newsroom and Scoop are running pretty much any media release sent to them, including many which would otherwise go straight into the circular file under a reporter's desk. If one of these releases encroaches on your patch, there's a great temptation to rush out a response.

WHAM often counsels clients in this situation to take three deep breaths. With more and more journalists in the traditional media using the internet as a source for stories, care needs to be taken not to fan a few smouldering embers into a major blaze. After all, if a story doesn't have legs, there's no point giving it any.

On the other hand, if you're the one who's trying to fan an issue, taking the initiative on the web could well be the way to go. A few provocative comments and you may well flush out a trigger-happy spokesperson who has hitherto kept their powder dry. After all, not everyone takes three deep breaths before making a response.

What do you think?
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