Why Are Rebekah And Her Friends Still In Trouble?

rebekahbrooks 300x168 Why Are Rebekah And Her Friends Still In Trouble?

The PR Verdict: “F” for a crisis strategy that is failing.

Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of News International and best buddy of Rupert and James Murdoch has been arrested for the second time.  Previously arrested last year, she is hitting the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. This time speculation is that the arrest concerns a charge of perverting the course of justice. Tough times ahead.

Despite endless protests from News International denying knowledge of widespread phone hacking and corruption of public officials, the arrests proceed and the parliamentary inquiry deepens. Public rage continues unabated.

In terms of crisis management, the hacking scandal was always a PR issue first and foremost.  Prioritising legal concerns over PR has been the major blunder.  As it happens things are looking bad on the legal front anyway.

The PR Verdict: “F” for a crisis management strategy that is failing.   Is it possible that News International’s ordeal might have been shorter-lived if PR concerns had driven and shaped the crisis strategy, with legal concerns in second place?

Pubic and political pressures have a nasty habit of taking a crisis in surprising directions.  What might have happened if News International had conceded wrongdoing and made amends at the outset?  The closing of News of the World, millions paid out in damages, the BSKYB acquisition blocked and multiple staff arrests could hardly be described as a strategic success.  It might have been wiser to take an earlier hit with a PR strategy that paid less attention to legal risk and prioritised reforming the company and closing the issue. No doubt Rebekah can tell us more in court.

To read about the latest arrests click here. To read more background about the phone hacking scandal click here.

Is there a news item that you think needs a grade? Send us your suggestion for the next PR Verdict: info@prverdict.com

What’s the PR Verdict on the Latest Chess Move by Murdoch?

murdoch and the sun Whats the PR Verdict on the Latest Chess Move by Murdoch?

The PR Verdict: "B" for a chess move designed to startle.

Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that he will begin publishing the Sun on Sunday has surprised followers of the phone-hacking scandal.  In one move, Murdoch has managed to change the conversation from criminal charges and ongoing arrests, to one about a new newspaper, and fresh jobs for journalists. The 81 year old has moved quickly and as a game changer this is perfect.

Though unanswered questions will continue to plague Murdoch’s empire, the company now has a definitive reason to start talking about its future without having to answer questions solely about the past.  By creating a new newspaper, News International can confidently reply:  That Was Then –  This Is Now.

The PR Verdict: “B” for a chess move designed to startle.  The new story about News International will be the Sun on Sunday’s actual content and business performance.

If News International really wants to put the past behind it, the first issue of the Sun on Sunday should carry a pledge from management and journalists making a clear break with the past, outlining core values and making a public promise of integrity to its readers.  It might just be the definitive line-in-the-sand the public has been waiting for. After that, the editors will need to work out just what type of paper they can create when they are not putting celebrities under surveillance or hacking phones for gossip.

Will the Sun on Sunday be that different from News of the World?  Let us know.