Making a statement?
Many organisations shy away from speaking to the media at times of crisis (see ‘The fear factor’), thinking that a written statement will do the job just as well. But issuing a written statement rather than putting forward a spokesperson is a risky strategy.
Written statements have a limited effect. Whilst they’re fine on social media in the first hour or so, relying on a written statement as your only form of communication means you lose much of your control over the message. Because a reporter will edit your statement, usually down to a single paragraph, and will read it out on air in their tone of voice rather than yours, which is unlikely to sound sympathetic to your cause.
Organisations need to be seen to engage with their key audiences in a crisis. Whilst written statements are better than nothing, at best they only provide an ‘arms-length’ message, which doesn’t do anything to enable that vital engagement.