Wire Services Open Wires for Crisis PR in Wake of WTC Tragedy
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Wire Services Open Wires for Crisis PR in Wake of WTC Tragedy

PR Newswire is opening its wires to companies whose crisis communications plans were activated by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center this morning as a public service.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, September 11—PR Newswire is opening its wires to companies whose crisis communications plans were activated by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center this morning as a public service.
 
The newswire sent out an e-mail to members at approximately 11am. The message read: “For PR Newswire members whose crisis communication plan has been activated by today's World Trade Center and Washington, D.C. crises, we are making the wire available as a public service without charge.”
 
Reporters and editors looking for corporate updates on today's tragedies are being directed to a dedicated section of the PR Newswire news file at www.prnmedia.com.
 
By early afternoon, Business Wire announced it would provide its members with free access to its national media network for crisis communications-related news releases, including announcements related to plant closings, and temporary suspension of operations in specific markets.

 
The first plane—apparently hijacked—crashed into the side of the 100-story north tower at around 8.45. The second crashed into the south tower about 20 minutes later. By 10.30am, both towers had collapsed. All airports in the United States have been closed, and the New York Stock Exchange was evacuated shortly after the first crash.
 
Some companies responded rapidly to the crisis. Gillette postponed the launch of a new Oral-B product; and H.J. Heinz & Co. canceled its annual shareholders meeting. The Walt Disney Company closed its theme parks in Orlando, Fla. and Anaheim Calif. for the day, saying that it was taking "an abundance of caution in light of today's events." Other companies, including Food Lion and Kroger Food Stores said they were acting as collection points for the American Red Cross.
 
United Airlines posted the following to its corporate website (www.ual.com) at 11.17am:
 
"United Airlines has confirmed one of its flights has crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United Flight 93, a Boeing 757 aircraft, is the flight number involved. The flight originated in Newark and was bound for San Francisco. United is deeply concerned about a further flight, United Flight 175, a Boeing 767, which was bound from Boston to Los Angeles. On behalf of the airline, CEO James E. Goodwin said, 'The thoughts of everyone at United are with the passengers and crew of these flights. Our prayers are also with everyone on the ground who may have been involved in today's tragic events. United is working with all the relevant authorities, including the FBI, to obtain further information on these flights. In the meantime, in line with FAA directives, a worldwide groundstop on all our flights continues.'"
 
At 11.53am, the company updated its website to confirm that a second flight had crashed.
 
American Airlines issued the following statement via PR Newswire: "American Airlines confirmed today that it lost two aircraft in tragic incidents this morning. American said the flights were Flight 11, a Boeing 767 en route from Boston to Los Angeles with 81 passengers, nine flight attendants and two pilots; and Flight 77, a Boeing 757 operating from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles with 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots. Because of the heightened security due to the nature of today's events, American said it is working closely with U.S. government authorities and will not release more information at this time.
 
"'We are horrified by these tragic events,' said Donald J. Carty, chairman and CEO of American Airlines. 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all involved.'"
 
The release was posted at the company's corporate website, www.amrcorp.com. As of 11.30am, the American Airlines consumer website (www.aa.com) appeared to be down, presumably because of the increased volume of traffic.
 
 
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