Murdoch, Morgan, the Media and Me


It isn’t every day that I’m introduced as the warm up act for Piers Morgan.

Or that I find myself agreeing with him.

However, this “Winsday” I’m back at the same venue, The Vox, here in Birmingham, for another major business event and this morning’s topics included a major focus on positioning and status.

Murdoch, Morgan, the Media and Me - Greg and Piers Morgan

And it was here, back in late Autumn of 2021 that the stars aligned.

I was discussing PR and positioning and Piers followed me, no pressure Morgan. I learned many things (including Rupert Murdoch’s favourite cocktail) but when he was asked about PR crisis management he was incredibly blunt (shock horror).

“Own it. Fess up. Don’t keep digging, the press will get more interested. You can’t win there.’’

I’m not sure how much of his own advice Piers takes but he is a man who knows the media.

This isn’t about pleading for forgiveness or even crumpling under the weight of the watching crowd, this is about taking charge and not making things worse by evasion, intended or not.

We see this all the time.

Wriggling, wrangling, digging and digging an even bigger hole.

Good news stories make great copy but unfortunately so do negative stories. Journalists deal in news. Your bad news is just as important to them as your good news.

So, what can you do? Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away because the deadline for comment will pass before you get back to them. There really are two sides to every story and you need to ensure you get yours over. If it involves you, or your business, you really should be on top of the facts.

If you are still looking into the situation or are legally shackled, say so, but clarify any information that you can and don’t leave things open to speculation. If you ignore or shun a journalist, speculation is all they have to go on and any relationship built up to date is ruined or scuppered before you’ve even begun.

If you do go down the “no comment” route you don’t look like an iron-willed corporate shark, you look ill-informed, unprepared and sometimes, unsympathetic. There is only one thing you can control in a crisis – preparation. If you work in a more high risk environment consider the “what if” scenarios.

What would you do if X happened? What are your processes for clarifying the situation, communicating it to colleagues and then the media? In that order? Yes, I think so. Your employees deserve to know the facts from you and not from tomorrow’s papers. Also, if you do go for the “no comment” approach, guess where the journalist is heading next?

In conclusion, journalists are not out to get you, they are out to get a story. Make sure at least half of it is yours.

PS Murdoch’s favourite cocktail…Peach Melba.