How to respond when a reporter investigates your firm

A reporter calls and is looking into alleged misconduct by your organization. Don’t panic; there are ways to make your case.

There you are, tapping out a press release about quarterly earnings or your employees’ charitable toy drive, when the phone rings.

A news outlet is investigating your organization, and things are about to get ugly for your well-crafted imaging.

When investigative reporters call, you won’t be able to refocus their story on that hilarious YouTube video that HR just made. But there are ways you can handle the crisis through a combination of savvy and openness.

“Being the focus of an investigation by a reporter is a gut-wrenching experience for a company,” says Gil Rudawsky, crisis communications strategist for GroundFloor Media in Denver. “And the fallout will continue to haunt you for some time. That said, there are ways to minimize the shock.”

Experts emphasized that investigative stories require a villain, and once you are established as the bad guy, it is difficult to change that. But it is still possible to limit the damage—and maybe even come out ahead.

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