Agency: Linstock Communications
The exposure of historic child sex abuse during the 70s and 80s at a high profile school could have led to panic amongst parents of children at the school and damaged its current reputation. Linstock was briefed to help manage the school’s reputation at a time when it was likely to become the subject of negative national press stories.
Linstock needed to help the school overcome its past issues and prepare it for the likely media storm. The school needed to draw a line under the events of the past and stop the drip of negative stories.
To do this, we drafted a communications strategy, media protocol, key messages and Q&A and media trained spokespeople. We staged a press conference for 30 members of the press and five camera crews, logged and managed 87 media enquiries and managed six TV interviews. We provided real time traditional and online media monitoring, 24/7 advice on blogs, tweets, and online comment, and addressed the issues raised through the school website and direct communication with parents. We managed two presentations to parents and advised on communication with pupils.
The school’s messages of remorse and reassurance were reflected in 78% of media stories that extended beyond news-in-brief. 240 parents attended an open meeting to discuss the issues.
The school featured in 279 press, online and broadcast articles during the course of the crisis; seventy of these were in UK national media including the BBC, Channel 4 News, ITN, Sky News, the Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Guardian. Our press conference drew to a close the steady drip feed of damaging media. No pupils were withdrawn from the school and a record breaking number signed up for the subsequent year.