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High Praise for South West Airline’s Online Newsroom in a Crisis

April 7, 2011

It always is great to get kudos from a client. But when it’s prompted by good result during crisis communications, it makes everybody proud.

And so it was on Monday, April 4, when we received a note from Brad Hawkins at Southwest Airlines. Brad was the Southwest point person during Wieck’s design and build of the new Southwest media site that launched last summer. He took the time to pass along an internal email that went to the Southwest news team in praise of that site.

For those who don’t follow much news from the U.S., a Southwest Airlines flight bound from Phoenix, Arizona, to Sacramento, California, lost cabin pressure in flight on Friday, April 1. It was diverted to Yuma, Arizona, and upon landing the flight crew reported a hole had been torn in the top of the aircraft. There were only minor injuries to one passenger and to one flight attendant and both were treated at the scene. But the incident caused Southwest to ground and inspect 79 Boeing 737-300 aircraft; resulting in hundreds of flight cancellations Saturday and Sunday.

The ensuing media scrum was eased by Southwest’s use of its electronic media web site that was custom built for the airline by Wieck Media’s professional development team. It was designed and developed with close and frequent consultations between the Wieck staff and Southwest’s PR and media relation specialists with Hawkins serving as the primary contact with Wieck’s project manager.

It just proves the point that a well-designed media web site, or an Online Newsroom prominently linked to a company’s home page, can be extremely beneficial during times of crisis or other times of high interest and frequent queries from the media.

Here’s Brad’s email to us…

From: Brad Hawkins
Date: Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM
To: Wieck Desk
Subject: FW: Swamedia high praise
Couldn’t resist sharing a bit of good news in the midst of a crazy few days.
Thank you all for your help.

And here’s the “good news” in the form of an internal memo he included:

From: Whitney Eichinger
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2011 5:18 AM
To: News Team
Subject: Swamedia high praise
Just a quick not to let y’all know how happy Cynthia Vega was about swamedia! She said it was so helpful, designed so well, and she actually apologized for calling because we had all the information right there!!!

So incredible!
Thought you all would enjoy.

Happy Monday.
Whitney Eichinger
Southwest Airlines

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