01 February 2008

Gov Comm 101: How to manage crisis spin

1. Write a news release which deliberately buries the real news so far down the page that reporters are likely to miss it.

2. Omit key information from the news release, like the fact that the information in a security breach was exposed to the Internet from December 30 until at least January 22.

3. Hold a newser to discuss the security breach later on the same day when the Auditor General releases a scathing report into government operations. (Since you have the AG report months in advance in order to prepare replies and since you know in advance the day, time and place the thing will be released, then deliberately scheduling the newser you want to bury is very easy. Experience tells you that newsrooms will be so consumed with the AG report they won't have the resources - people or time - to dig through your presentation for the news you buried.)

4. Send the number two person in the Communications and Consultation branch to supervise the execution of the spin plan. (That's a clue as to how much concern there is in government about ensuring the story is highly torqued.)