As my book â€˜PR Disasters’ suggests, the term is applied to â€˜anything and everything negative that happens happens to a company or organizationâ€™, most commonly when PR jobs go wrong.
From my personal research of all kinds of PR gaffes, the common denominator linking all â€˜PR disastersâ€™ is, adverse media coverage. Strange then, that in the coverage over â€˜The Ageâ€™ columnist Terry Lane â€“ who has fallen from grace for his failure to fact check and for reporting a completely fabricated story about Iraq â€“ I didnâ€™t see it referred to as a PR disaster for the journo or the paper.
From Melâ€™s drunken anti-Semitic outburst to Israelâ€™s current anti-Hezbollah campaign, many media commentators are quick to apply the â€˜PR disasterâ€™ label. Yet when a journo or newspaper stuffs up in a big way â€“ by violating public trust or respect – itâ€™s somehow never dubbed a PR disaster.
The consequences are the same â€“ extensively judgement media comment, embarrassment, tainted reputation and loss of personal or consumer confidence. And the restorative path â€“ which Lane has followed quite nobly – is the same, too; regret,responsibility and remedial action.
Seriously, can anyone tell me why newspapers donâ€™t as readily apply the â€˜PR disasterâ€™ tag when it clearly applies to their own kind?