10th June 2016
7 things said to journalists and what they really mean
When a shipping crisis strikes and journalists start calling, whoever answers the phone in your company might find that they’re suddenly famous (or more likely, infamous). Unfortunately, their hurried words will often be interpreted in dangerous ways when they’re quoted in the press.
Let’s looks at some translations; what people have actually said when they picked up the call translated into what audiences will hear when those words are broadcast around the world.
“It’s crazy here. They’re all running around. I have no idea what’s happening.”
Translation: Our company was completely unprepared for this situation. It’s time for the authorities to step in, spend our money and tell us what to do before we make the situation worse!
“They’ve been working on it for a while now, it should be done this evening.”
Translation: It will absolutely be done this evening….six hours later….it’s not done. The shipping company doesn’t know what it’s doing. They aren’t taking this seriously. Time to start imposing fines to motivate them.
“I’m not sure. No one tells me anything.”
Translation: The company is hiding something, even from their employees. What could it be? Oh no, we’re probably all going to die!
“It’s not that big of a deal. I don’t know why you people keep calling.”
Translation: We don’t care about the people impacted, or the environment or anything! We’re happy in our expensive offices on the other side of the world; now stop bothering us.
“I don’t think anyone was hurt…”
Translation: People might have been hurt!?! Company doesn’t know what’s happening. This might be really serious.
“I can take a message, but he’s not talking to the media.”
Translation: They’re hiding something, probably something really bad.
“It was our Christmas party last night, so I don’t know when everyone will be in today.”
Translation: Shipping company staff intoxicated and unable to respond effectively to emergency situation. Time to demand action and launch an investigation.
Remember, nothing is ever off the record, especially in the age of social media. “I am not a spokesperson for my company. If you leave your name and number, I will have someone contact you.” That’s all you ever need to say!...and make sure someone actually does call them back.
COO & Crisis Response Manager
T: +44 (0)20 3326 8467