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October 6, 2010
PR Training in the Depths
Here's probably a new low -- or high, actually -- for public relations training. The AFP news service reports that communication trainers have begun working with the Chilean miners who have been trapped 2,200 feet underground for the past two months. A rescue rig is expected to be in place in a couple of weeks, and it's anticipated that the miners will need help in dealing with some 700 journalists from around the world who will be waiting for them on the surface.

That's probably an ordeal the miners will welcome after the one they've been enduring underground. But it's considerate, indeed, to provide them with an idea of what to expect and how to react to a media onslaught while they're waiting in the depths. The miners will be hauled to the surface one-by-one in a custom-built cage, a process that will likely take an hour for each lift. 

We'd imagine that the real media test for the miners will come, not at the lift site itself, but after they've received medical attention and are found fit to face the world again. There will be a great dire story there, and it's good the miners are receiving help on how to tell it -- training under the rudest of circumstances. Stand by to see how they do -- and pray for them and their families in the meantime.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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