PR News 2010 Media Relations Conference: Roger Conner Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

December 22nd, 2010
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Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by Roger.

Roger, will you please introduce yourself?

ROGER CONNER: Hi, I’m Roger Conner, senior director of communications for Catholic Charities USA after a 25-year career as vice president of communications with Marriott, the hotel company.

BURKE: Thanks, Roger. And, you know, platinum member here, so big Marriott fan. I’ll just get that off the record right away.

CONNER: Well, I always–when–you know, I spent a life at Marriott, an entire career, and I always loved and always thanked all of those Marriott reward members, and particularly those platinum members, for their business. That’s the first thing anyone ever said at Marriott, no matter what job they were in.

BURKE: Fantastic. Now, you were just the keynote speaker at the Media Relations Summit here, and you talked about having a crisis team with five different parts. Can you share what those five parts are with the PR and communications professionals that are our audience?

CONNER: At Marriott, most recently we developed a five-part crisis communications team. It started with our writing and research team, and they were the ones that contacted the hotel or any other place where there was an incident or issue involving media, and then they wrote the message. Often the message was written in advance by research and writing. It was then handed off to the second team, which is our press and media team, and they would actually take that work and call The Media, and they were designated to speak with the media.

We had three other teams that were very helpful. One of them was internal communications, which, as we know, is critical today. Secondly–or not secondly, but a fourth team was our logistics team because there’s an awful lot of materials that need to be at the ready for responding to a crisis or an issue. And finally we had our community relations team for all our involvement with other organizations that might be part of a crisis, such as Red Cross or others.

BURKE: Great. And, Roger, what are the two things that you had mentioned that you have on your shelf ready to go in the event of any crisis?

CONNER: Well, with these five different components of our crisis communications team in place, they were working with two primary documents, or two primary tools, if you will. The first one was actually called “The First 15,” and directionally, if not in reality, it was a document that addressed how we respond to The Media, or publicly, within the first 15 minutes of any kind of major crisis or issue. And the other document was known as “The First Hour,” which actually was a little bit more practical and a little longer, and really laid out all of the roles and responsibility for the members of those five teams that must be done within the first hour.

BURKE: Great, Roger. And where can people find you or follow Catholic Charities online?

CONNER: Well, Catholic Charities USA can be found on Twitter, can be found on Facebook. We have a great Flickr site, along with Facebook, for our photographs. And of course, personally I’m on LinkedIn.

BURKE: Great, thank you so much.

 CONNER: Thank you so much. 

2 Responses to “PR News 2010 Media Relations Conference: Roger Conner Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Johna Burke and Crystal DeGoede. Crystal DeGoede said: RT @BurrellesLuce: Roger Conner @CCharitiesUSA & former @Marriott VP discusses crisis communications w/ @gojohnab http://budurl.com/askb […]

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