Category Archives: Crisis Communications

Setting the (Stilted) Stage: Jussie Smollett Tale Was a Cynical Checklist for Public Outrage

A little over three weeks ago, I had never heard of Jussie Smollett. Same goes for most people, since he was a secondary character in Empire, the Fox series that is filmed in Chicago. That relative obscurity changed in late January, after he alleged that he was the victim of a heinous hate crime in […]

Chicago Mayoral Race Lesson: Details Matter

The list of Chicago mayoral candidates is only slightly longer than the list of those same hopefuls who are so quick to distract and deflect when faced with evidence of their dubious decisions or dealings. (Looking at you, especially, Bill Daley and Toni Preckwinkle.) The latest twist is another candidate, Amara Enyia, who overstated her […]

Don’t Wait ’til News Breaks–Anticipate the Break, Break Through With Coverage

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”–Wayne Gretzky That philosophy surfaced on the PR front last week with a news release providing insights and counsel on snow and ice management. The release had been in the works for over a week for McAdam Landscaping, a longtime Inside Edge […]

Famous / Infamous Moments of Miscommunication, World Series Edition

Communication matters…and that’s never more evident as when it breaks down.   A recent case in point: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ decision to pull Dodgers starter Rich Hill in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night. Or was it even his decision? Therein lies the heart of this communication snafu. This […]

An Uber-Important Lesson on The Impact of Brand Ambassadorship

The car horn was relentless. For at least 30 seconds this morning, someone in downtown Chicago was leaning on theirs to send an urgent message. With ample time between meetings, I stopped walking to see what the fuss was about. A few car lengths past a busy intersection, just north of the Merchandise Mart, an […]

In the Wake of Elijah Sims’ Murder: Fight or Flight, Faith Versus Fear

Today heartbreak seized our community upon learning of the gunshot murder of an Oak Park and River Forest High School senior, Elijah Sims. He was fatally wounded last night in the Austin neighborhood. Initial news accounts noted that Elijah was visiting friends from his old neighborhood—among the most violent and murderous in a violence-and-murder-ravaged Chicago. Shortly […]

Ryan Lochte & The Hazards of Fibbing When Technology Helps `Show’ Trump `Tell’ At Any Time

More than 30 years ago, as a young journalist enrolled in a summer journalism program, the one-liner from a veteran journalism pro prompted chuckles and laughter from me and my 90-plus high school cohorts: “If your mother tells you she loves you…check it out!” The point being: don’t take anything at face value. Question. Dig. […]

Dear donald: Can We Make You Stop Writing Again!?!

Dear donald, On behalf of the National Junior High Contest on How to Respond to the Orlando Tragedy, I want to confirm receipt of your essay, headlined “MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!” and which you included in an email from your campaign for U.S. President this afternoon. I have re-printed your essay here: “Dear matt, The […]

Fallout is Coming For Shoddy Leaders in the Laquan McDonald Murder & Cover-Up

In the wake of controversy and scandal, calls for resignations, coup d’etats and other forms of leadership change are standard. Sometimes, they are knee-jerk, let-the-heads-roll expressions of emotion that soon fizzle out as other stories or priorities take precedence. Or, if they persist, those protests may actually influence action, which can range from a symbolic […]

Let’s Stop Stroking Evil Incarnate with the Ill-Fitting ‘Mastermind’ Label

Working with my middle school-aged children on their homework, I am reminded of the need to use synonyms in order to spice up communication. Do we go with “provided” or “offered”? How about “reflects” or “illustrates”? These variations in word choice are benign, designed to break up monotony. But not all alternative word choices are so […]