Stories by Katie Paine


Behind Every Good Crisis There’s Usually an Oversized Ego or Two

October 1st, 2021 by

We’ve written about how founders’ personalities contributed to the downfall of Theranos, WeWork and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” And recently, we saw a similar pattern with the now-defunct media conglomerate Ozy and iconic game show “Jeopardy!.”

Revenue-Hungry Athletic Associations Aren’t ‘Too Big to Fail’ at Crisis PR

July 1st, 2021 by

Whether it’s tennis associations pitted against athletes, NHL hockey teams covering up sexual abuse, the NCAA battling its member universities and athletes, European soccer bosses jousting with fans or organizers of the Tokyo Olympics seemingly ignoring athletes, doctors and the majority of Japanese citizens–the antediluvian approach of these sporting entities to stakeholder communication is inescapable.

Out of Touch: The Super League and Hollywood Foreign Press Association

May 5th, 2021 by

There are a number of organizations that are not in tune with their constituencies. The most obvious recent example is the European Super League, which went from a press release to dissolution in four days. It took longer for all the problems plaguing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and its signature awards, the Golden Globes, to emerge. But both PR disasters resulted from being totally out of touch with stakeholders.

blue umbrella amid sea of white umbrellas

Current Culture Requires Nonprofits to Step up Their Crisis Preparation

March 2nd, 2021 by

Frequently, a nonprofit crisis provides the perfect opportunity to air the dirty laundry hidden under the veneer of a charitable organization doing good. The lesson for nonprofits: You are just as vulnerable, if not more so, than for-profit organizations and you need to prepare accordingly.

Worst Crises of 2020 Expose a Lack of Transparency and Strategic Action

January 5th, 2021 by

If you are a crisis consultant, 2020 was your banner year. When we look back at the year, clearly there were societal changes that contributed to a proliferation of attacks on brand reputation.

Strange Times Bring Big Changes to How PR Crises Need To Be Handled

September 1st, 2020 by

The pandemic and social unrest have made their mark on crisis management, Katie Paine argues. She makes her case with examples from Jerry Falwell Jr and the university he formerly ran and Rio Tinto, the minerals conglomerate that put profits over public perception when it destroyed sacred lands.

frustrated, mobile

Hearst, ‘Ellen Show’ Crises Highlight Need to Align Brand with Reality

August 4th, 2020 by

Both The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Hearst publications were caught flatfooted after allegations appeared in the media that their brands’ values failed to equate with reality. In her regular Image Patrol feature, Katie Paine analyzes the slow response to each PR crisis and provides tips for how brands should handle such issues.

Cruise Lines, Care Facilities Fail After COVID-19 Media Attention Arrives

May 5th, 2020 by

Our crisis communications columnist Katie Paine assesses the responses to the coronavirus-related media attention from elderly care facilities and the cruise line industry. She finds the messages of both groups missed the boat.

George Springer

Delaying Crisis Response: The Astros vs Beijing’s COVID-19 Cover-up

March 1st, 2020 by

Measurement guru Katie Paine compares China’s cover-up of the coronavirus and the Houston Astros’ long delay before admitting guilt in the sign-stealing scandal. Neither entity helped its reputation when it chose to ignore a crisis. Prompt response and owning your mistakes still makes the most sense.

Boneheaded Benchmarking: 2019’s Worst PR Flubs Offer Plenty of Lessons

January 7th, 2020 by

Our crisis and measurement columnist Katie Paine looks at 2019’s worst crises. She also offers lessons learned from what she sees as the year’s top PR crises. The overarching theme is that a “boneheaded” CEO’s approach to crisis can ruin a company’s reputation, trust and financial standing.