There has been a lot of media coverage about what’s going on at Penn State, which has resulted in thefiring of head coach Joe Paterno. Actually, Penn State didn’t use the word “fire”, but I am, because that’s what happened. He was planning on retiring from that position, but they showed him the door. I’d say that’s a firing, wouldn’t you?
A Wall Street Journal column I read called “A Four-Letter Word Schools Won’t Use” says that Penn State isn’t the only school that avoids that word; NCAA programs don’t use it either when they get rid of a coach. Maybe they want to avoid lawsuits or don’t want to sound harsh, but I think they should get out of the spin zone and be real about what’s going on. If they choose to not really talk about what has happened, then the media and public will take over the message and create what they want out of it.
If the concern is a lawsuit, then a company or organization should focus on what’s good and say as much as they can to control their image. It’s a lot better than having the media, bloggers, and all sorts of people online and elsewhere fill in the blanks with their own theories and opinions. When that happens, even a simple Google search can make all kinds of negativity come up instead of what the organization wants people to see.
Even though I think that being open and honest is the best way to go, I doubt the schools will go that route because they seem to think that playing it safe is better than communicating honestly with the public. However, if they continue to do that, someone is going to take the image ball and run with it, and it might end up not being the best policy after all.