PR Crisis

‘Conflict builds character. Crisis defines it.’ Steven. V. Thulon

‘Discover Girl’ is a young teens magazine that has recently been under scrutiny by parents and the media for negative messages aimed towards adolescent girls thus creating a public relations crisis for the magazine (ABC news 2016).

It produced a section that gave beauty advice to young tweens on swimsuit options to suit their body type (ABC news 2016). Parents were shocked by the message portrayed in the magazine that gave an underlying image of body shaming. An article published by the abc news discusses parental disapproval of this swimsuit article targeting girls as young as 8 years old; many other news articles disapproved of this negative message as well as a critical response from the public on social networking sites (ABC news 2016).

(to see full article click here)

To cope with this the Editor of ‘Discover Girl’ magazine apologised publically through Facebook directly aiming her sympathies at the effected parents and thanked them for bringing it to her attention (ABC news 2016). However there were great amounts of backlash against the editor for her poorly worded apology. Critics disapproved of her excuse that she ‘hadn’t read the article’, (ABC news 2016). By doing this she has belittled her professional reputation as an editor and represented the magazine badly. The video below explains a better way that ‘Discover Girl’ could have handled a PR crisis such as this

Public relations professionals are responsible for handling the organisations conflict and crisis situation(Wilcox, Cameron, Reber, Shin 2013). The Conflict management Lifecycle explain the way in which we should approach crisis’ like Discovery girls’. There are many ways organisations respond to crises: Some attack the accuser, are in denial, make excuses, justify with reason, integration, corrective action or even write a full apology (Wilcox, Cameron, Reber, Shin 2013). Discover girl should have hired a Public relations practitioner rather than using the easy ‘excuse & denial method’ claiming she didn’t know.


Reference list:

An open letter from Catherine Lee, Discovery Girls Magazine. (2016). Retrieved 11 May 2016, from

Bayles, J. (2015). How to Handle A Negative Online PR Crisis. Retrieved from

Denis Wilcox, Glen Cameron, Bryan Reber, Jae-Hwa Shin (2013). THINK Public Relations (2nd). New York, New York, USA: Pearson Education Inc. ISBN: 9780205857258

Parents outraged after magazine offers swimsuit tips for tweens. (2016). ABC News. Retrieved 11 May 2016, from

Scott, S. (2013). Conflict management lifecyle. Retrieved from



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