During my four years (1996-2000) handling media relations for a company accused of causing a commercial airline disaster in the Florida Everglades, Grandone Media Strategies’ primary responsibility was to protect our client. We had to protect the clientagainst regulators and prosecutors from the FAA, EPA, IG, various other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and their attorneys in the court of public opinion.
In addition we had to protect them from charges brought by the EPA, FAA, USIG, Miami-Dade emergency services and innumerable other agencies that sought money from the tragedy. It was a dangerous situation, even for those who sat in offices instead of wading through the saw grass at the scene.
During the course of that work, we provided our attorneys, as well as their client with world-class representation and training, developed and rehearsed answers to anticipated hostile questioning, and prepared them for news interviews that we had arranged in advance.
We found it much more effective to have attorneys trained in how to address the media, rather than employing the cliché “No comment.” In fact, we encourage our clients not to use those words; training them instead to positively state favorable messages that already are filed in the public record. Reporters generally have direct electronic access to filings in a lawsuit either over the internet or at the courthouse.
Prior to any matter going to trial, we provide honest evaluations from the viewpoint of a non-litigant as to what arguments work and what do not. We also create opportunities and estimate risks for our clients, while becoming students of the political climate where the work was taking place. We monitor social media to gauge thoughts and feelings about individuals and matters relating to a case. Of course, we also constantly monitor news coverage, which can be unrelenting. When they made a mistake, we made sure they knew about and did not repeat it. If the mistake is serious enough we take actions to correct it for the record.