How to Apologize When the Media is Listening – Analysis in Forbes

Here’s an article that applies to everyone. That’s right – it doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, leader, follower or even a kid. At some point, you will need to apologize.

But what happens when the apology is amplified by the media?

I recently wrote an article for Forbes answering that question. I break down three tips to help anyone make sure their apology goes the right way. You can read my Forbes article here. If you’re short on time, here’s a shorter version of the key points.

3 Tips when Apologizing with the Media

Own Up To Your Mistake

It seems like such a simple and easy thing to do during any apology: admit to your mistakes. But so many people omit this crucial part with the media.

Don’t Try To Hide The Problem

When communicating to the media, many people try to hide behind the problem by not discussing it. The omission of the problem only enhances its importance. In the case of Jennings, he didn’t delete the Tweet and pretend it didn’t happen. Instead, he acknowledged its presence in his apology to the media.

Focus On The Good

Every apology should also deliver a positive message. That can include reasons why this won’t happen again. In the case of a business, the apology can include an explanation of a new system in place that will prevent the mistake from happening again.

In today’s fast-moving social media world, anyone can find themselves needing to apologize for a quick, poorly thought out Tweet. If you stick with these key points, you’re less likely to need a second apology for your first apology. However, there is one exception, that I outlined in my Forbes article: “No apology should be tactical. If you’re apologizing to the media because your PR agency tells you to, the underlining root of the problem might reoccur. At the root, you really, truly have to be sorry. And that’s something I can’t teach.”


Finance Monthly and ACQ5 5 – an international industry award – named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a PR contributor with Forbes, Entrepreneur and CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.