In its Daily ‘Dog section of the website, Bulldog Reporter (which bills itself as “The Leading Source of PR Views, News and Tools”) usually has a running “Pulse of PR” spot poll. Often time the results are interesting and relatively useful from a “trends” perspective. Given the glut of information (from many mediums) and opinion over the past week, the most recent one seems particularly timely.
Do you think it’s too soon for the media to begin assigning blame in the Virginia Tech tragedy?
(Spot-poll participants can select from the following answers)
– Not at all: A quicker response to the first shootings may have prevented further killings
– No: The school didn’t handle last summer’s shooting crisis or last week’s bomb threats very well
– Maybe: The media’s first concern should be to relay the basic facts of the massacre, not speculate
– Yes: The nation is still in mourning and now is not the time to assign those kinds of roles
If you wish to participate, visit the Daily ‘Dog home page and scroll down. At the time of posting, this poll was still located in the right-hand column. Although you can choose to View Results at any time, I’d recommend you vote first–go with your reflective response if you were counselling the media and authorities, faculty and administrative staff. Then see how closely your opinion matches up with other PR practitioners.
This particularly horrific carnage happened on an American post-secondary campus, but the use of firearms and violence against innocent victims (particularly students) certainly isn’t specific to one nation. (Tragically, Canada has had its own share of school-based shootings over the last 20 years.) I know the way I voted in this poll is probably somewhat reflective of the cultural values and norms I hold.
It did make me wonder if a similar poll was conducted by a non-American publisher, whether the wording and/or choices of answers would be different.
Update (4/21/07): From the Barks and Bites column, David Henderson on Tragedy Communications: Virginia Tech’s Use of New Media Tools Exemplary
“Within just a few hours, the university had taken charge of its communications and was speaking with a clear and consistent voice. Even before the deeply sorrowful task of identifying the dead, those few early updates that the university had were immediately communicated to the information needs of students, faculty, parents, the Blacksburg community and the world. There was no speculation, just facts.”
Update (4/25/07): The above “Pulse of PR” spot poll has now been replaced with a new query, “Which of the following has been the biggest corporate PR story so far this year?”