Restoring Organizational Image While Protecting Public Interests

AUDIENCE: Assume that you are an organizational spokesperson responding to a specific organizational crisis event. Your audience consists of various media representatives (newspaper, radio, television). Depending on the nature of your organization and the scope of the crisis, you can assume they represent a mix of local, state, regional, national, and international media sources.

TOPIC: Your goal is to create a briefing based on a case study of a particular organizational crisis. Consider organizational crises similar to those identified in the Crisis Communication chapter in your text. You need to pick a real organizational crisis that has occurred within the last 20 years. You might consider choosing something with local/regional implications since it is often more interesting for you and the rest of the class, and you might be able to access first-hand sources of information as well as news records. Thoroughly research the crisis to discover the background and precipitating events, what the organization did and said in response to the crisis, and any critique or praise that commentators made about the organization’s actions. This information will form the backbone of your crisis briefing.

Assume the role of a corporate representative for the organization experiencing the crisis, and create a media briefing that responds to the crisis using image restoration strategies dealt with in class. Select the strategies that are most appropriate for the circumstances you have discovered (primarily your understanding of audience perceptions) in your research. This is a persuasive presentation. Your goal is to deal with organizational image damage while protecting affected publics. Therefore, it is vital that you provide solid, unbiased support from independent information sources for the image restoration strategies you use.

STRUCTURE: All crisis briefings should conform to the N-A-R persuasive speaking structure. Because of the nature of this speech, it is possible that the refutation section will be eliminated from the speech structure.

TIME LIMITS: Your speech is to be 5 to 8 minutes in length. Effective time management will be considered in the speech grade. Speeches that are undertime will be given a rating of “1″ at best in terms of Idea Development. Overtime speeches will lose one percentage point for every 15 seconds exceeding the 10 minute maximum. Plan carefully and practice thoroughly.

• Identify all supporting material and source citations in the manuscript by using bold print.

COVER PAGE: Create a cover page(s) that includes the following information:

1. Your name.
2. The name of the organization you are representing.
3. A concise several sentence statement identifying the crisis situation.
4. The approximate date of the crisis itself.
5. The hypothetical date the crisis briefing would have taken place. Be sure the sources you cite would have been available at the time of the hypothetical briefing date.
6. A thorough paragraph that clearly justifies what you consider to be the three most important image repair strategies used in the briefing. Justification must take into account an analysis of the target audience.

Note: Do not choose a hypothetical briefing date that is too close to the actual crisis situation. You will need to give yourself some “distance” from the event so that it will be possible to locate and include various written sources as supporting material (see below). Responses immediately following crisis events are almost always limited to unsupported and unverified speculation.

SUPPORTING MATERIAL: Use a good deal of supporting material (statistics, testimonies, examples) throughout your speech to clarify, defend, and validate your points. This support must come from a minimum of three highly credible independent sources. You will likely rely on reputable news outlets. Sources of support material must be clearly and thoroughly cited orally for your audience in the speech. Prepare a separate reference page of support sources (only those sources specifically cited in the speech) using APA style format, and include it with your manuscript.

PRESENTATIONAL STYLE: Deliver the briefing the extemporaneous style we have been emphasizing throughout the semester.

Note: Turn in the cover page, outline, and references in a single document to Turnitin by the deadline specified in class.