The internet is awash in bots.
You probably run into at least a dozen every day. Think of the commenting bot that shouts YOU can make $$MONEY$$ from your VERY OWN HOME!!!. Or maybe the Twitter bot that retweets everything your organization posts. Just take a peek at the entirety of your email spam box. There are even bots that can write journalism and poetry, even if they haven’t entirely crossed the uncanny valley yet.
A hallmark of my time supporting research and evaluation at Knight Foundation has been a close working relationship with our communications team. This partnership has been a key ingredient for the development and dissemination of a series of successful reports Knight has published in recent years. So when I recently encountered a Communications Network blog post lamenting the challenged relationship between evaluation people and communications people, I felt compelled to speak out on behalf of the way our teams have partnered at Knight.
As a young political staffer, I felt like I ruled the world the first day I arrived at an event for my boss. My job as Press Secretary to a Governor was to set the scene, ensure all logistics were in place before his arrival, and – most importantly – make sure the media was writing the story we were laying out for them. As the last pieces were put in place with meticulous detail and I began making my rounds to the awaiting members of the media to plant the frame of the day in their heads and in their notebooks, an out-of-control car came careening through my carefully planned event stage, hit the embankment that was to serve as our backdrop, and went airborne into a train station across the street.
Crisis Communication Lessons from Planned Parenthood
Anatomy of Strong Crisis Communication: What Planned Parenthood Did Right
- Prepared – It already had a crisis communication plan in place that it could tailor and put into action quickly; it recognized more attacks were coming and prepared its supporters to brace themselves.
- Decisive – It responded quickly (with the facts in hand) and decisively through written and digital channels (email, video, Twitter).
- Empathetic – PPFA’s response struck the right tone. It was strong and did not concede wrongdoing but acknowledged that the optics weren’t optimal.
- Engaging – Planned Parenthood’s supporters are passionate and ready to act – through Twitter, blog posts, emails to Congress, etc. The group used the power of personal stories to connect with people on the issue.
- Connected – PPFA prioritizes building and maintaining strong ties with allies and decision makers willing to stand in support of the organization
Planned Parenthood has had a rough few weeks.
To recap, an anti-choice organization called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a fake corporate entity, captured undercover videos of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) executives allegedly discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Actors posing as buyers from a fictional medical company met with a PPFA official while hidden cameras rolled. CMP then sliced and diced three hours of footage to create an eight-minute clip that makes it appear as though Planned Parenthood was acting nefariously. CMP’s main purpose is to put Planned Parenthood out of business.
This is a preview of ComNet15 Breakout Session Let’s Talk About Race: Communicating Effectively for Social Change After Baltimore and Ferguson, sponsored by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Perception Institute
For the past century, our understanding about race has been grounded in our troubled racial history and its legacy of enduring inequities. While these inequities are thrown into sharp, public relief by incidents such as the violence in Ferguson and Baltimore and murders in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, it is the dehumanizing, everyday narrative of race that causes them to persist. The very experience of race is deeply connected to our emotions and innate fears, and causes ambivalence about what strategies and policies we should support that will lead to racial justice. For many, merely talking about or even noticing race makes people anxious.