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Lone Star Wrap-up and Final Thoughts (4:30 PM MT)

It appears that the Lone Star College situation is coming to resolution with serious injuries, not fatalities. I’m saddened to hear there are injuries, but thankful that the scope and severity of the situation didn’t increase from the preliminary reports.

With the situation winding down, I have some quick observations from a Monday quarterback.

Be careful how and when you use the terms “danger has been mitigated” and “the situation is under control.” I encourage using those terms, but only when they are true by anyone’s definition.
In this situation, the phrases were used during an interview with CNN. When questioned, the spokesperson stated that the situation was not over, but instead the alleged gunman was no longer on campus. You can still express a leadership stance without using language that suggests the situation has come to conclusion.

More importantly, there was not an issuance of care, compassion or concern for those injured in the initial interview with CNN. The spokesperson was spot-on in protecting student privacy and delineating data and timeline, but the personal touch was missing. During the 5:10 PM Eastern press conference, the institution still did not lead with care, compassion and concern. My suggestion to them from here forward would be to add an appropriate level of emotion towards the victims.
Next, get official communications out quickly and issue statements on behalf of the institution with news cycles in mind. “Immediately” is better for online outlets and cable news networks, but the 5 PM and 6 PM news cycles still exist for local coverage. As of the posting of this entry, I was unable to find online a written statement from the institution. Include a link to that statement prominently on your crisis site.
The on-air commentary prior to the 5:10 PM ET press conference was a brainstorming of questions that had not been answered or information that was being reported differently across outlets (see image below). It is understandable to have situations move quickly, but share what you know once you are able to do so.

Finally, once a situation has come fully to conclusion, be sure to communicate that to your audiences, too. Sometimes we are too exhausted for that last step, but our audiences greatly appreciate it. Doing this last step allows everyone to see the situation as truly “mitigated” and “under control.”