News International has hit the headlines again this weekend as five of its top reporters were arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning. There have been some eyebrows raised in the PR industry that much of the commentary coming from News International has been internally focused but, as in any crisis situation that could affect people’s livelihoods, this is absolutely the right thing to do at the outset.
The closure of the News of the World in 2011 was seen by many as the new guard paying the price for mistakes made by the old. For News International, focusing on getting the internal message right from the outset should be an absolute priority. They might be hacks but they are still human, and by reassuring staff at The Sun they will not suffer the same fate as their colleagues at the NOTW, News International will be hoping that they can instil an element of business-as-usual.
The News International management team can now focus on handling the intense anticipated scrutiny from the police, their own internal standards committee and, of course, the rest of Fleet Street and the general public.
This makes sense as, from a commercial point of view, it is imperative that News International is able to focus on containing these latest allegations to avoid falling foul of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which would have disastrous consequences for its vastly more profitable US operation.
Some challenging days (and nights) ahead for the News International communications team.