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Public Relations Outline and Press Release

Please read the case described below and answer the following questions

1. How would you execute the media relations plan? Write a press release to outline the actions being taken by the company 10 days after the accident.

2. Give an outline of activities that you would engage in and the issues that you would address to maintain and enhance community relations using PR 2.0. Write a fact sheet that you think would help your case.

3. Give an outline of a work plan to maintain and enhance employee relations and enlist all the issues that would need to be covered by this plan.

You can make up facts about the actions being taken.

On October 23, 20XX, the Corporate and Media Communications staff of Phillips Petroleum Company responded to a major fire and explosion at the company's Houston Chemical Complex (H.CC) in Pasadena, Texas. As a result of the accident, 23 workers were killed and another 35 were hospitalized. It was the worst accident in Phillips' history and the worst accident in the petrochemical industry since the Texas City explosion in the 1940s, which killed more than 550 people. The blast was felt as far as 25 miles away. At Rice University, scientists gauged the explosion as the equivalent of 3.5 on the Richter scale. Windows were shattered as far as three miles away, and several hundred vehicles were damaged. The explosion destroyed Phillips' polyethylene facilities, the largest of their kind in the world. Within an hour of the explosion, some 150 representatives of the media, representing 40 news organizations, were at the site.

There was an immediate need to respond to the news media and re¬assure the local community and employees through them. In addition, Phillips' crisis response needed to:
? Preserve and restore Phillips' reputation as a safe, concerned employer
? Reassure the local community of Phillips' commitment to the area ? Provide full details of the accident to the media and chemical trade press
? Maintain media goodwill by being as responsive as possible to special requests and by providing photo opportunities as soon as possible
? Confirm the company's basic health to the financial media
Communications were aimed at the following audiences:
? The media: Covering the HCC accident were more than 40 news organizations, representing local, state, national, and international media, and the chemical trade press
? Residents of the Pasadena area, where most HCC employees reside: Pasadena is a community of some 116,000 residents; it is also an im¬portant suburb of Houston, a city of some 3.6 million people

In keeping with Phillips' policy of open, honest, and timely communi¬cations, the goals and objectives of the crisis communications effort were the following:
? Be open and responsive to the media
? Demonstrate top management's concern for employees and the community
? Reassure the local community
? Reassure the financial community

These goals were adopted because of the seriousness of the accident to employees and company property, the effect of the accident on the community, and the intense media interest the accident generated.

Corporate and Media Communications has a standing crisis com¬munications plan for all field locations. Specific details for implementing the plan vary by event and are always governed by local conditions. In an emergency, Corporate and Media Communications works with local management and with a predesignated local official who has received training in media response. (A main objective of Corporate and Media Communications is to have trained spokespersons at all field locations.} Because of the seriousness of this event, Corporate and Media Commu¬nications recommended that top management be part of the communica-tions effort and that corporate communications specialists go to the site to assist local management. In addition, the plan called for the following:
Media Relations
? An announcement would be made to the press as soon as possible.
? Press briefings would be held routinely and with regard to media deadlines.
? Media rooms would be established at HCC and the Bartlesville, Oklahoma, headquarters complex.
? The press would be taken to the site of the accident as soon as pos¬sible in order to help them understand-and relay to the public¬ the difficulty of the search and rescue effort under way.

Community Relations
The Company would use the media, paid advertising, and personal letters to show appreciation for the aid and assistance received in responding to the crisis.

Funding for the HCC emergency response was paid for from a spe¬cial account established for insurance purposes. Expenditures were ap¬proved as the need arose, following expedited approval processes. The time schedule was dictated by events and by the company's commit¬ment to respond


Solution Preview

How to execute the media relations plan

In executing the media relations plan, the media relations objectives will put into action through various tactics aimed at being open and responsive to the media concerning the accident. In responding to the media, the Corporate and Media Communications will first determine what tactics various target media prefer. General tactics aimed at all sorts attendees from various medias can be done through press conference where a trained spokesperson will release information reassuring the public that everything is under control and the company was doing everything in its power to rescue those trapped and provide a possible cause for the blast that does not implicate the company as unsafe (Caywood, 1997).
For various media outlets, various tactics will be used in the media relations strategy. For the local and state media outlets, photo opportunities can be provided as soon as possible, take press to the site of the accident as soon as possible so as to relay the efforts that are underway in rescuing the those trapped, hold press briefings frequently on the progress of the rescue efforts and also relay to the local medias through newswire or fax service bureau on the response speed and the safety measures that the company has so far taken and those that were in place before. Other tactics include calling local editors and syndicated writers and discuss the facts of the explosion in order to gain media trust and maintain openness, emphasizing on the rescued persons from the disaster
For the national, international and chemical trade press, the internal details of the safety measures the company had taken to minimize the occurrence of such disasters, the possible cause of the disaster, and how the company is ensuring the safety of the rescue efforts can relayed to the media through press conferences, press release, and photos can also be availed with the media taken to the location to see the rescue efforts underway, and what the company is doing about this issue. In addition, the company can also release the financial impact of this destruction and provide assurance that the company had insured against such risks.

Press Release outlining the actions being taken by the company ten days after ...

Solution Summary

Public relations outline and press releases are examined.