Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hearst Corporation- Crisis Communications

The much-discussed post on, “Should “Fatties” Get a Room?” brought crisis to the Hearst Corporation. The blogger expressed her disgust for the new CBS comedy Mike and Molly, citing, “I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.” This hit Hearst hard – outraged readers commented on the post with their own feelings of disgust towards the author herself. 28,000 emails were sent to Hearst Magazines owned Marie Claire, and Facebook events were formed, announcing a date and time to meet outside the Hearst Tower to demand a public apology. (I was actually there the day of the "protest!")

Hearst Magazines public relations professionals discussed the ideal plan to ease consumers. Though the editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles did not directly apologize, she did mention that the particular writer was battling her own insecurities. Within 24 hours, the author herself posted an update on the entry, “I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either...” Since then, public scrutiny has dwindled. It was important during this time that certain protocol be followed, and it was. Public interest was placed first, the magazine took responsibility, the publication was open to the public, and designated the editor-in-chief and original blogger as the spokespeople. It was a bold move for the editor-in-chief to make a statement, and an even bolder move for the author to take the blame and apologize to the public.

No comments:

Post a Comment