Category Archives: Crisis Communications

Pete’s Fresh Market Inspires a BHAG Spin-Off: BDAP (Bold Deadline Aired Publicly)

Jim Collins, the acclaimed author or co-author of groundbreaking business books like “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” calls them BHAGs: Big Hairy Audacious Goals. As defined by Wikipedia, a BHAG “is a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide […]

Your Comfort Zone Is a Perilous Place To Be

Birthdays–at least the ones I have had since turning 40–have a way of prompting deeper reflection and re-examination. Each year brings a reminder of those who did not get to celebrate another birthday or whose chances of reaching their next one are bleak. These are morbid notions, perhaps, but motivational also. These ruminations last week […]

Shock & Sadness in the Wake of Sordid Allegations Against Denny Hastert

“Denny Hastert is on the phone from Peru! Who wants to talk to him?” An editor made this proclamation one afternoon in late-May 1997, in the newsroom of The Beacon News in Aurora. Because the Beacon’s sister paper in Elgin was my home base as a reporter back then, it was just a quirk of timing that […]

Yo, PR Homies! Here’s the Real Paul George Apology

In all my years as a newspaper reporter, through the thousands of stories in which I quoted one or more individuals, I was constrained by this pesky requirement:  the person had to have actually said something in order for me to include it inside the quotation marks. Imagine that—and hold that unspectacular, elementary thought for […]

In the Midst of the Donald Sterling Debacle: 3 PR Observations: Reputation, Audio & Timing

In the exclusive echelon of professional sports team owners, Donald Sterling has been regarded as notoriously inept for decades. Since his 1981 purchase of the San Diego Clippers, the franchise has made the playoffs only seven times. You may not recognize the team’s San Diego connection–Sterling relocated the team to Los Angeles in 1984, in […]

Bruce Rauner Flunking Simple PR Test: Administering His Campaign Facebook Page

With the Illinois gubernatorial primaries coming up on March 18th, the plot is thickening and the mud is flying—and not only on the campaign trail, but on the social media platforms that all of the candidates have established. With thousands of fans each, the potential exists for a bottomless pit of comments—supportive, critical, relevant and […]

Manti Te’o Deception Exposes Failings of An All-Too-Easily Duped Media

Just so there’s no mistaking things, the words that are italicized below are satirical. There really is no such thing as a “National Liars Association,” at least not to my knowledge. I issue this warning because it seems that so many people–even journalists who are entrusted to be the watchdogs of accuracy and truth–will take so much […]

`Medill F’ For Cook County Board President’s Communications Team

Like other professional writers and editors, I can’t just “turn off” my editing hat when I’m not devoted to a work-related task. Billboards, posters, disclaimers on pharmaceutical commercials—all of those platforms, and more–are fair game. So two weeks ago, when I literally couldn’t help but notice Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s bio had a […]