I’m not an expert in crisis management, however I can recognize bad taste when I see it
In current weeks, the novel coronavirus has actually penetrated almost every element of our lives, from the work we do, to the food we buy, to the simple things we’ve tended to take for granted, like leaving our houses and mingling.
Even the stories I compose that are ostensibly not about the virus are constantly– somehow– about the virus.
When we look back at this moment in time, the sheer ubiquity of the topic will, maybe, be its specifying particular. And while we flirt with concepts of escapism, the fact of the matter is that we’ll never completely escape COVID-19 until it is entirely eliminated.
Amongst the continuous and mostly undesirable reminders in my own life is my work inbox. I’m being pitched coronavirus-related stories dozens of times a day at this point, running the range from the stylish and thoughtful to the cringe-inducing. In the early days of the break out, when I first started getting these pitches, they all sort of felt as though they were being done in bad taste.
Pitching against catastrophe is not an unusual practice in public relations. Like online material generators that juice SEO with trending buzzwords, the phenomenon is a typical one among lots of PR reps. And honestly, by the time the realities of COVID-19 came to our shores, the isolated act of consisting of references to the pandemic in a pitch no longer felt crass in the very same method.
I’m not a specialist in communications or crisis management.
While I know enough now to recognize a distasteful pitch when I see it, I was curious how people in the public relations market navigate the question. I reached out to handful of associates I have actually generally had a good experience with and asked how they best do their work when the world around them is falling apart at the joints.