PR firms are rallying round to offer their services and support in
New York in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks last week.
In a warming sign of unity, the PR community in and around New York is
volunteering both professional and personal help to those in need.
Aside from the immediate priority of staff welfare and the internal
communications issues throughout the ordeal, consultancies large and
small are offering everything from manpower to office space in a bid to
help get the city back up and running.
Global PR giant Weber Shandwick Worldwide has volunteered 15 of its 100
New York staff to assist the New York City Red Cross media relations
department and is setting up office space for displaced clients and
It is currently working out how to house staff from the Cystic Fibrosis
Organisation, which had an operation based in the World Trade
WSW senior vice-president Mike Holtzman said: 'We're making available
our resources, physical staffing and advice. For clients we are offering
office space and pro bono distribution of advisers who can help with
crisis comms. I am more than likely going to be taking an emergency
assignment from the Government.'
An international team of crisis comms experts - including Hill &
Knowlton vice-chairman Andrew Lawrence - has also launched under the
name of Working Through to offer free advice to firms hit by the
The NYC Red Cross media relations department has had a tremendous
response to its calls for PR assistance and WSW is just one of a list of
consultancies offering support.
Among those providing help are Cohn & Wolfe, Ketchum, Citigate Dewe
Rogerson and Morgan-Walke Associates.
Most of the Red Cross's immediate PR needs involve staffing the media
relations office and fielding calls.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) posted a request for PR
help on its website but so far has not received a request. Executive
director Catherine Bolton said: 'Everybody wants to do something to help
and things are being done so well here that there's actually little
request for help.'
While crisis PR may be one element of the clean-up, there is no doubt
communications will be instrumental in the months ahead in helping get
the city back on its feet.