Public Relations ‘Crisis’ – Module 9

A public relations crisis is generally a high profile unexpected event which is generally seen to have an adverse effect on the organisation which is generally followed by media and or government scrutiny (Wilcox et al. 2013).

Rolling stones magazine posted a story about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia. When published it caused an up roar in many ways as even though the report’s editors made judgements about attributions, fact-checking and verification, they had little or no concern for Jackie and her situation (Wilson 2015).


Image 1: Title of Report

Source: Coronel et al. (2015)

The Rolling Stone didn’t take this into action straight away, but after receiving the negative feedback to cope with this crisis the Managing Editor Will Dana made statements in regards to this, stating things like “every single person had the opportunity to pull the strings of this story hard and question things more deeply but that was not done”. In Coll’s investigative report Dana also made a three-paragraph editor’s note stating things like it was hard to read but is a fascinating document and did a formal apology to the readers and also to the fraternity (Wilson 2015).

Personally I think that this has hindered the Rolling Stones reputation as according to Lewton (2011) you should act immediately towards crisis’s and the fact this statement took 4 months to be released shows that the where trying to wait for this to blow over or that they didn’t really care and it was a very basic apology which they should do better. This is a major magazine which this crisis really came from basic errors that could have been avoided and their work should be impeccable and with crisis’s like this happening it really does diminish their reputation.


Coronel, S, Coll, S & Kravitz D 2015, Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report, viewed 7 April 2015,

Lewton, K 2011, ‘Surviving a crisis with a transparent PR plan’, Public Relations Tactics, vol. 18, no. 7, p. 17.

Wilcox, DL, Cameron, GT, Reber, BH & Shin, JH 2013, Think: Public Relations, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Wilson, M 2015, With UVA rape story retraction, Rolling Stone promises to do better, viewed 7 April 2015,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s