Companies Learned About Crisis the Hard Way in 2020

Each year, the Institute for Crisis Management (ICM) tracks crisis-related news stories, classifying them as “sudden” or “smoldering” and putting them into one of 16 categories for its annual report.

One of ICM’s goals with the report is to provide businesses with insight about crisis and media’s crisis coverage. Armed with this knowledge, executives and communicators can prepare better.

ICM knew its latest report, which tracks 2020’s crisis stories, would be an anomaly. Pandemic stories, which ICM placed in the Catastrophes category, skyrocketed that space to 37.15 percent, vs just 2.26 percent in 2019. In all, 1.7 million crisis stories were tracked. News items about the pandemic itself accounted for 615,000 of them.

COVID-related crisis stories were placed in several categories, including Class Action Lawsuits, Consumer Activism, Discrimination and Whistleblower.

COVID influenced other categories, too.


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