Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, has been avoiding the media for weeks. At last he is speaking and he is in total control. Instead of granting an interview to Diane or Barbara or Katie, he has recorded a video statement and posted it on YouTube. He is careful not to even mention Michael Jackson. Instead he uses his one minute video to thank his supporters and at the same time begins to paint himself as a victim. Dr. Murray says he is "afraid" to return phone calls or emails. He is soft spoken and praises God. To be sure, Dr. Murray has some tough days ahead that may include criminal charges. And no lawyer would advise him to speak to the media at a time like this. By turning to YouTube, he is taking his message directly to the people and shielding himself from the tough questions. And of course, his video will be picked up traditional media and by day's end, millions will see it. Murray has a long way to go to restore his reputation, but this is a good first step in a crisis communication plan.
The lesson for others facing a communication crisis is this; there are many ways to get your message out. For some, traditional media is the right approach. New media is a better option for others. The key is to get the message right.