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Can You Really Stop the Presses? A Book Review of: Stop The Presses The Crisis and Litigation PR Desk Reference

by John David on July 13, 2011

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This book - Stop The Presses The Crisis and Litigation PR Desk Reference by Richard S. Levick and Larry Smith – brought back memories of undergrad and some public relation courses I took a little more than 12 years ago.  Long gone are the days of a predictable news cycle with time to respond to a crisis before you saw it on the news that night or in print the next day. Now with the age of Social Media (i.e. blogs, Facebook, and Twitter) we have information that is constantly flooding the Internet every minute.  One can ill afford to take a reactive approach to handling a crisis, one must now be proactive.

Richard S. Levick and Larry Smith dive into the changing world of crisis management with their 2nd edition of Stop The Presses The Crisis and Litigation PR Desk Reference. This book is the blueprint for what to do before a crisis happens, it is a must have to arm yourself in taking a proactive stance when handling any crisis that your organization may come across.  The key is being prepared.

However reading through this book, I got the impression that this was also a plea from a PR department to the Legal department to come join forces in the fight, but do it our way, and break from the traditional tight lipped, “No Comment” stance.  The authors are saying, “Let’s be transparent.” Fortunately I work for an organization where Legal/PR/Social Media work hand in hand with a common goal with respect to the company’s objectives.

Levick and Smith use real life examples throughout the book to accentuate what to do and what not to do.  It is good to learn from your mistakes, but even better to learn from other people’s mistakes. It is essential that an organization have an active blog, and understands the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Having a website it one thing, but if the public doesn’t know about it then all you have is an expensive screen saver.  These are tools that will help you in the future in the event a crisis should ever occur.  You have to be just as media savvy as the next guy if not more.

Whether you are a major corporation, small business, or a simple Mom and Pop shop, a crisis could occur and can affect your business.  Are you prepared?

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