How a Small PR Firm Handled a Crisis at Sea and a Global Media Frenzy at the Pandemic’s Start

cruise during COVID

[Editor’s Note: Having a plan is the minimum requirement for crisis pros. That’s not always possible as veteran brand communicator Bobbie Carlton tells us in this Q&A.]

PRNEWS: Give us the scenario, please.

Bobbie Carlton: On Saturday February 8, 2020, a former co-worker, Blake Courter, contacted me. His parents, Gay and Phil, were among 3,600 passengers quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess, the ship where some 700 coronavirus infections occurred. He’d been trying to manage media for his parents and needed help. Could my firm handle it? Immediately? Within one hour we booked media, had partially written a press release and distributed it the next morning.

PRNEWS: Obviously, there was no crisis plan. What did you do to manage? What can our readers learn from the ordeal?


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