Tutorial #2 Game Changers in Crisis Communications and iReporting

Tutorial #2 by Gerard Braud, iReporter Evangelist

(Editor’s note: In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 reporters. This is part of a series of articles that share how to be a good iReporter and how to make CNN iReports a vital part of your crisis communication and media relations strategy.)

Tutorial #2 Still image Gerard Braud

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Think back to April 16, 2007, the day of the Virginia Tech massacre. Thirty-two people were murdered. The image that may stand out the most for you would have been a cell phone videos, shot by a student, capturing the sounds of gunshots.

The student shot the video, then uploaded it as a CNN iReport.

This was the moment, for me, that the world of news coverage and crisis communications changed.

You can watch today’s tutorial video to learn more.

I’ve worn and still do, wear many hats. My primary job is as a crisis communications expert, teaching organizations how to effectively communicate with the media, their employees and other key audiences during a crisis. I also worked for 15 years as a full-time journalist. And occasionally, I’m a citizen journalist, filing CNN iReports.

From a crisis communications standpoint, Virginia Tech failed to effectively communicate with the media, their students, their faculty, and many other audiences on the day of their massacre.

Furthermore, had they communicated properly and evacuated the campus in a timely manner, that student would have not been on campus with his cellphone, and therefore would not have captured that video, and therefore would not have been able to sent it to CNN, and therefore the media would never have had the video.

At the same time, had the university’s own public relations team been aware of the power of a CNN iReport, they could have actually provided their own statement directly to CNN by filing an iReport.

This entire sequence of events was a game changer. It signified to all public relations people, to all spokespeople, and to all Public Information Officers, that someone is going to tell your story. It can either be you, as a professional with official and accurate information, or the story will be told by an eyewitness with a smart phone.

Yet here we are in 2013, six years later, and I’d be willing to be the vast majority of public relations people and Public Information Officers (PIO) have never given it a second thought. I’d bet most people do not have an idea how to do this? I know this to be true because when I suggest it in the workshops I teach, a portion of the class is amazed that they’ve never thought of it. Another portion can only make up reasons as to why they think their boss will reject the idea, admitting that they do not have the tenacity to stand up to the boss and make a strong, legitimate case for why web videos need to be an important part of their crisis communication and media relations plan.

Who do you want telling your story during your crisis?

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF of the program description: Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

Tutorial #1: Why You Should be a CNN iReporter

Tutorial #1 by CNN iReporter Evangelist Gerard Braud

Tutorial #1 Still Gerard Braud

Click the image to watch the video

The future of crisis communications and media relations is here. If you are a Public Information Officer (PIO), an official corporate spokesperson, or if you work in public relations for a corporation, government agency or non-profit organization, you should learn to also be a CNN iReporter.

I’ve created 23 articles and video tutorials on how and why you should be a CNN iReporter when your organization faces a major crisis or news event that gets significant attention from your local news media, and has the ability be get national news attention.

I have extensive experience as an iReporter. In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 reporters, for my in-depth coverage of Hurricane Isaac near New Orleans on August 28, 2012.

Most iReports are eyewitness accounts of events. They are filed by the average person on the street who sends photos, video and narration directly to CNN, in the very same way that they can send videos to YouTube. What you will learn in these 23 lessons also applies to placing videos on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and your official website.

Who would you rather have posting photos, videos and narration? Should it be someone speculating about what they see? Would it be better if it came from an official source, with real knowledge of the event? Shouldn’t the media have official information from someone like you?

A CNN iReport is a direct path to one of the world’s premier news networks.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF with a description of the program: Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.