Volume 6 | Fall 2019
Welcome to GroundFloor Media’s Crisis Communicator from GFM’s
Crisis Communication & Reputation Management practice.

Savvy Attorneys Use Media to Intensify Crises
Attorney Mike Moore is responsible for more than $250 billion – yes, a quarter of a trillion dollars – in settlements for his clients, including those harmed by “Big Tobacco” and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  How does an attorney accomplish that? Bill Whitaker from “60 Minutes” noted that Moore did it partly by going to court, but mostly by going public. Said Moore: “A case in court is a case in court, and that is fine, but there is also the court of public opinion. And the court of public opinion is sometimes the most powerful court.”

The lesson: Savvy lawyers use media strategically to add pressure on companies experiencing a crisis to force a settlement before it gets to trial. It is important that legal counsel understand how to work with PR partners to respond and take back control of the media narrative.  
PR Disaster of the Quarter – WeWork's Ill-fated IPO
We’re old enough to remember when owning a company that continues to lose money and has no clear path to profitability was a bad thing. Uber changed that perception when it went public earlier this year despite being on a long-term path to bankruptcy, so you can see how the folks at shared workplace provider WeWork had visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads. Alas, this decade’s version of “irrational exuberance” ended and WeWork was forced to shelve its IPO when investors demonstrated they are “ wary of ambitious young companies that have run up huge losses and might not become profitable for years.” 

The lesson: The proposed IPO dramatically increased scrutiny of both WeWork’s financial model and its corporate governance, and its collapse had as much to do with its flighty management and policies as it did its finances. WeWork’s failure to understand its vulnerabilities meant it couldn’t control the story, and it quickly spiraled out of control.
Lessons Learned at Our 'Get Connected' Media Panel
GroundFloor Media and CenterTable recently hosted a media panel as part of our “Get Connected” education series, and the focus was on the evolving role social media is playing in journalism.  The Denver Post’s Saja Hindi , CPR’s  Ryan Warner , 9News’  Jeremy Jojola and the Colorado Sun’s  Larry Ryckman discussed how they increasingly use social media to find and gauge the impact of news stories, as well as to promote their work to a broader audience.

The lesson: Our own Director of Will Holden  offers a great recap of the event , including key takeaways that Reddit is an under-the-radar way journalists look for interesting stories, gauging the success of stories solely by metrics frustrates journalists as much as PR practitioners, and going old-school and picking up the phone can still be an effective way to pitch a story.
Experts Say New Technologies are Increasing Polarization
From the advent of the radio to the rise of internet-based digital technologies, the PR industry has always been quick to adopt and perfect new technologies. However,  a new survey from USC finds many communications experts are concerned about the future. Slightly more than 60% of PR professionals predict that future communication technology will cause the average U.S. citizen to become more engaged, but also that much of the engagement actually will be based on misinformation. 

The lesson: The world may feel very polarized now, but the worst is yet to come. And that lack of trust in information will challenge a new generation of PR practitioners whose job it is to help connect organizations with the public in meaningful ways. 
RSVP: What Nonprofits Need to Know During a Crisis
GroundFloor Media and CenterTable are partnering with IMA Inc. and Philanthropy Colorado to host a panel discussion on how nonprofits can prepare for traditional and nontraditional crisis situations:

Managing Risk & Communicating During a Crisis
7:30-9:00 am, Thursday, Oct. 31
IMA • 1705 17th St., Suite 100
Denver, CO 80202
About Us
For nearly 20 years, leading companies and organizations in Colorado and across the country have relied on GFM to help prepare for, manage and recover from crises. Today, our crisis and issues management practice is led by Jeremy Story and Gil Rudawsky , two journalism and public relations veterans who over the courses of their careers have worked with some of the country’s most recognizable companies in the financial services, healthcare, transportation, professional services, energy, education, retail and food-and-beverage industries.

If you would like to learn more about preparing for, managing or recovering from a crisis, please visit our website or contact us at crisis@groundfloormedia.com .
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