Less is More – Tactics for Managing Media During a Crisis

What’s the best way to speak to the media during a district crisis? Don’t! That’s according to Jason Russell of Secure Education Consultants (SEC) who has decades of experience working with schools during times of crisis. “Think about a time when you saw media coverage of a crisis at a school. Did it reflect positively on that district? The answer is probably not.”

Jason joined us for another SET SEG EduSeries training to discuss all things crisis communication. Of all the topics covered during his hour-long presentation, one of the things he’d most like school administrators to remember is that you are not obligated to talk to the media. In fact, it’s often in your best interest not to.

“The only time the media should play a role in your communications strategy is if they can assist in resolving the crisis. Maybe the crisis is that you have a missing kid… the media can play a role in in helping with that by putting out information.”

Media Management 101:
  • In almost every case, avoid media contact.
  • In rare, catastrophic scenarios involving life or safety, there may be a role for the media to play.
  • The media should never be contacted unless it’s coordinated with a spokesperson or partner representative such as an insurer, crisis consultant, or legal counsel.
  • Communications with the media, if absolutely necessary, must adhere to the crisis communications procedures using message maps which are organizational alignment tools to ensure message consistency.

View the “Crisis Communications for School Leaders” training through the SET SEG EduSeries, for more information, such as how to identify your target audience, create message maps, and use ‘home base’ statements to keep your communication transparent without getting yourself into trouble. In addition to the video, you’ll find a handful of helpful communication templates to guide your district’s communication in the event of a crisis – from allegations to a district lockdown.