Tucson Tragedy Raises PR Issues for Many

This weekend’s tragic shooting in Tucson is a reminder of why being prepared is so important in PR. Just like a fire station tries to prepare for any situation, so too should PR professionals.

Consider just some of the issues that came from this incident:

Sportsman’s Warehouse has to defend its position that Jared Lee Loughner passed his FBI background check before one of its employees sold him the gun that was used kill six people and injure 14 more.

Pima Community College has to determine if it did enough when Loughner was a student there, as classmates and at least one instructor were disturbed by his bizarre, threatening behavior.

Gun rights supporters must defend their stance that Arizona’s lenient gun laws are in the best interest of the public.

Gun opponents will ramp up their efforts at changing laws and swaying public opinion.

All political parties must examine their use of rhetoric and its possible impact on individuals and society.

Lawmakers must defend legislation under consideration that would expand a ban on symbolic threats from just the President to congress.

Congress will have to consider new levels of security for all its members, and how to deal with issues of extreme importance while one its own lies in a hospital bed fighting for her life.

These are just a handful of the societal issues that will be dealt with and an important reminder as to why you always plan for the best and prepare for the worst when it comes to PR.

Taking Risks

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I keep reading stories about Oprah Winfrey taking a risk because she’s starting her own cable network.  In the back of my head I can’t help but say, “Come on!”  When you’re worth billions of dollars it doesn’t meet my definition of taking a risk.  Yes, there is a risk involved in launching your own cable network and stepping away from your record breaking talk show you’ve had for 25 years.

However, taking a risk as a small business person trying to make the right marketing decision will make the difference between whether the business wins or loses, whether their family gets food, and whether their employees can survive in a difficult time.  I want to wish Oprah Winfrey all the best in her risk but my biggest concern is helping people who are actually taking bona fide risks, who have something to lose and something to gain.  Their livelihood is truly at stake.  Whether Oprah Winfrey’s cable network works or not I doubt her lifestyle will change dramatically.  Whether a good entrepreneur’s investment wins or loses is a totally different matter.

At Wellons Communications, we work to develop communications, public relations and social media plans for people who do take risks and want to see real return on their investment.  We understand what’s at stake.