The recent retraction by This American Life of the episode about Foxconn’s iPad factory working conditions demonstrates why my immediate reaction to stories published by the mainstream media is appropriate.
Apple’s slow/no response to the original story turned out to be correct.
Unless there’s a huge problem–your service is down or people’s lives are in danger–immediate reaction to that piece on CNN or the article that shows up in a Google Alert isn’t warranted. Despite what your executives believe.
The situation is never as dire as that which is painted in the article, the facts are never fully disclosed and the timeline isn’t 100% correct. Also–and this is important–nobody cares about it as much as the echo chamber in your building would have you believe.
Take a moment to gather the facts. Get the full story (as a corporate communicator, this is sometimes the hardest part). Formulate a response. Go to sleep. Respond tomorrow. It will be OK.