The University of Missouri has come out with a study showing that when companies’ bad news is framed from a sad point of view, consumers are more forgiving of said company.

Someone should have told BP this news before National Public Radio declared its Gulf oil spill “a textbook example of how not to handle PR.”

Glen Cameron, the Maxine Wilson Gregory Chair in Journalism Research and professor of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and Hyo Kim of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore conducted the research. The University of Missouri’s news release said that in the study, one group read an “anger-frame” story blaming a company for the crisis. A second group read a “sadness-frame” story, that focused on the victims and how they were hurt by the crisis.

Certainly, this isn’t earth-shattering news, especially to those whose profession is public relations.

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