Global media's coverage of crises keeps on rising

LOUISVILLE, KY: The international media increased its coverage of business crises in 2003 thanks to a post-Enron rise in corporate scrutiny, said Larry Smith, president of the Institute of Crisis Management.

LOUISVILLE, KY: The international media increased its coverage of business crises in 2003 thanks to a post-Enron rise in corporate scrutiny, said Larry Smith, president of the Institute of Crisis Management.

The institute's annual report on crisis coverage found that 2003 had the second most media coverage of business crises in the past 13 years, bested only by scandal-plagued 2001.

"I think it's the fallout from the Enron years," said Smith. "Not only is the business press paying more attention, but regulators are paying more attention too."

The institute monitors more than 1,500 business sections of newspapers and magazines along with wire services and trade publications worldwide to compile its annual report.

It found the biggest jump in crisis coverage last year in the area of hostile takeovers, but Smith attributed that mainly to the dramatic jump in takeovers after a slow 2002.

Coverage of workplace discrimination rose 110% and coverage of sexual harassment was up 96%.

Wal-Mart and Home Depot were two companies that dealt with discrimination allegations.

Crises involving consumer activists were up 124%, with companies such as Yum! Brands facing protests from PETA and other groups.

The institute found the securities business at the top of the crisis list for 2003, largely because of mutual fund scandals. Supermarkets, which dealt with strikes on the West Coast and in the central US, were second.

Restaurants made the top 10 crisis list thanks to the bankruptcy filing by Chi Chi's after an outbreak of hepatitis at one of its Pennsylvania restaurants.

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