Journalism and PR in Crisis Today, Says Top Media Coach

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By Ellen Schulman

August 4, 2013



(Fort Lauderdale, FL) – “Responsible journalism is in crisis today and so is pr; there’s a tremendous loss of trust in both,” veteran executive communication coach Virgil Scudder told a south Florida group yesterday. The author of World Class Communication: How great CEOs win with the public, shareholders, employees and the media, told the audience that journalists and public relations practitioners need to share a common master – integrity. “Integrity means dealing with honesty, candor and truth,” he said.

Scudder, who has trained the top executives of such well-known corporations as Kraft, UPS, CVS/Caremark, Gillette, Time Warner and Volvo, was addressing attendees of the statewide PRSA Sunshine District Conference at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.

In his presentation, Scudder shared lessons learned from more than three decades of guiding corporate leaders through tense public situations, shareholder scrutiny and numerous crises.

“CEOs have to communicate with a lot of constituents and in a lot of ways,” he said. “It is critical that in all situations they are clear, concise and credible, and deliver with confidence. Since they are constantly under pressure and in the spotlight, their experiences provide the best lessons for any communicator.”

At the core of the Scudder’s coaching system is the “Scudder Method,” which he explained in his talk. “I teach executives four simple steps,” he said. “They must explain the purpose of their message, use simple language in the delivery, cite relevant facts and employ word pictures to make their points.”

“Communication is such a critical element in anyone’s career,” stressed Scudder, who has led Virgil Scudder & Associates since its founding in 1990. Previously, he managed the media training units of two of the world’s largest public relations firms, Carl Byoir & Associates and Hill & Knowlton. Prior to that, he was an award-winning news broadcaster at major New York radio and television stations and networks. His book, World Class Communication, received a prestigious ExecRank Distinction Award as one of the Best Business Books of 2012. Scudder can be reached at