For 25 years, Judi Nardella Hershman has advised individuals, businesses and associations that require expertise when addressing the impact of communications on society and business. In 2000, she founded RAFTR Communications, LLC, a crisis and reputation management consulting firm, based in McLean, Virginia.

Guiding Principles for Managing Risk and Crisis Communications

By Judi Nardella Hershman

Digital media has rendered time and distance moot in terms of managing a crisis. Whether it is adverse business news, the arrest or addiction of a celebrity or political figure, or a natural or man-made disaster—reporting is virtual, viral and can be unrelenting. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and traditional outlets now provide 24/7 coverage that can send information around the world in the blink of an eye and launch investigations and litigation.

Unfortunately, when a crisis occurs there is little time to think, let alone to develop a plan to effectively inform, correct, or apologize. Without an up-to-date strategy in place, it is easy to become overwhelmed by rapidly unfolding events which can lead to public, governmental, and media scrutiny that you may not be able to respond to quickly.

The first bastion of defense in dealing with this ever-evolving environment is preparation and a good swat team approach. However, if your crisis makes its way into media headlines and stays there for an extended period of time, it is most likely because your communications efforts are failing. The following principles should help you determine if you are in a state of readiness to manage both foreseeable and unforeseeable events that could derail your business or career.

Contact Judi Nardella Hershman at or 703.288.4569