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When Things Go Bad – Dealing With the Press

In Associations sometimes things go bad. Despite all of the very best intentions and efforts someone gets hurt or is rightfully offended. Worse yet, at times the press because of either the newsworthiness of the story or a relationship between the reporter and the allegedly aggrieved party, decides to become involved. In those instances you need to know how to handle yourself. Here are some basics of what you need to know:

  1. Have a strategy for a clear, consistent & focused message (list about 3 key points of one sentence each that you can easily memorize);
  2. Prioritize the key points;
  3. Always bring the reporter back to your issues by stating something like, “What is important here is … (then list one of your key points);
  4. Never become angry or aggressive;
  5. Talk about people not association policies, e.g. “Although we are sympathetic to Mrs. X, her suggestion would not be fair or safe to other owners or residents for the following reasons …”

Few things will decrease property values, and therefore your investment, like negative press. Accordingly, it is a wise use of association resources to make sure that when things go bad you are prepared to effectively deal with the press. Finally, if the circumstances warrant it, you  may also want to consider getting an experienced attorney and their PR person involved to immediately help – many times they can look like the bad guys and take the pressure off of the association.

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