Copyright 2002
Lorenzo Kaufman

According to a 2001 UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) study published on, 58 percent of Americans rate the information they receive on the Internet as “reliable and accurate.” This poses a problem to public relation specialists because they have to be able to identify incorrect material about their client and launch a proactive approach to quell internet rumor. This process can be performed in three steps.

Step One: Anticipation
It is not feasible to believe that people alone can scour the internet and find all the harmful information to a client. There are numerous systems that can monitor the internet based on keyword analysis. To be able to properly identify key words that would damage your client, all public relation professionals must be aware of the hot button issues surrounding their client. Also, through all steps of this process, educated professionals should be establishing relationship building with members of high-level media sites, in case a crisis should occur.

Step Two: Prevention
According to, the best way to prevent an internet crisis is to “develop and nurture strong relationships with consumers” as well as the media. It is also important to develop a platform for which you can broadcast your own message. When somebody prints something unflattering to your client, it is important to have a medium in which to respond to the attacks. Rumors must be quickly defused because they are rapidly spread. This medium should also build credibility with its audience with objective and unbiased material.

Step Three: Management
When a crisis occurs, the company must already have a plan to combat the problem. People should already be implemented in a crisis prevention control team. The spokesperson should be chosen, and all aspects of the team should be briefed on the specific ways on which the crisis will be handled. As long as everyone is on the same page, the problem will be addressed quickly and effectively.

ow that the problem of rumor controlling has been addressed, public relations officials must realize that sometimes negative publicity is not negative at all. Razak A. Baker, a senior consultant at the Alpha Platform Public Relations Firm, believes that in the entertainment industry, sometimes any publicity is good publicity. Baker says that “in the world of entertainment, negative [publicity] sometimes brings in more album sales and bizarrely bad relationships attract more audiences to see the actors’ movie.”
Bakar says he recalls one instance when Donny Osmond was asked by fellow artists and record executives to get arrested for drugs. This strategy was to make his image more rebellious in order to boost declining record sales. That aspect of entertainment public relations makes it an extremely unique specimen in its field.



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