As campuses everywhere deal with the ongoing challenges created by COVID-19, one thing they don’t need to be dealing with is fighting intentional misinformation. And yet, just to show we have entered a brand new era, at least two schools were quickly trying to debunk nonsense distributed in their name: Stanford, tagged with fake tips on fighting coronavirus, and Bates College, victim of a hoax letter claiming the college planned to intentionally infect students with the virus.
Nearly two years ago I wrote about the issue of colleges combating fake news in the form of online bots and trolls. I thought it might be useful to reprise this article, which is full of useful tips.
A couple of news announcements about Penn State caught my eye this week. Both are attempts to get past significant scandals by taking policy or programmatic action.
As I wrote in an earlier blog post on recovering from a PR crisis, there is a basic formula used by most people and groups who successfully move past a major scandal. It includes:
- Admit the mistake or wrongdoing
- Apologize without excuses
- Explain why it happened, or what you will do to find out
- Take steps to fix the damage and prevent a similar occurrence in the future
I continue to see programs teaching leaders and organizations how to recover from a PR crisis. The demand for this advice seems to be a bottomless pit.
It’s inevitable that people and organizations eventually screw up. Your response has the power to make it OK again or dig you in way deeper. There’s a basic formula for recovery, and it’s pretty much the same in every circumstance. Continue reading
The clash between news reporters, protesters and faculty at the University of Missouri has sparked a dialogue about First Amendment rights, media coverage of protest and why protesters might not want the news media in their midst.
Not surprisingly, the news media are reporting the incident as a violation of freedom of the press, and they may be right. But there are boundaries when it comes to media access on campus, and it’s worth discussing them. Continue reading