Crisis Management

Media: Should you be afraid of analyzing negative coverage?

By Caroline Roy   |   24 March 2020

Picture this. You’re a professional working in communications. One morning, your organization makes the front page or Margaret Wente’s column for all the wrong reasons. You bust your butt to get your side of the story across, set the facts straight, and extricate your organization from the crisis.

Everybody is shaken by the experience. Your bosses are extremely nervous.

In this situation, would you dare to measure the impact of all this negative coverage on your organization?

As I’m sure you know, good news rarely makes headlines.

To fear or not to fear?

When this type of situation happens to our clients, they ask us to measure the effects of the negative media coverage on their organization. They want to know—and rightly so—whether their handling of the coverage has helped calm the storm, or added fuel to the fire.

But some communications professionals are reluctant to analyze negative news. After all, nobody likes to receive a report card peppered with D’s in school!

Media analysis is different from a report card!

Here are five reasons for analyzing negative press:

  • Distance. What if it turns out the coverage wasn’t so negative after all? An external, independent observer can help put things in perspective—and reassure management.
  • Score. A firm specialized in media analysis can determine the negative brand impact in dollars. It’s important to use a method that is easy to understand for all types of organizations.
  • Confirmation. Did the current media strategy turn the tide?
  • Distinction. A detailed analysis of the content of media coverage helps to distinguish the impact of each issue, which is essential for rehabilitating an organization’s battered reputation.
  • Clarity. Which issues would it be appropriate to put forward during the media operations following the crisis?

Media analysis is a valuable management tool, even when media coverage is negative.

Why? Because it helps you keep track of the facts and fine-tune what is or isn’t working in your communications.