"Traditional public relations practitioners want to educate and inform over some period of time.
We are crisis communications specialists. It's our job to make your pain stop
or go away - now!"
- Bruce Hennes & Barbara Paynter
Founded in 1989 as Hennes Communications, Hennes Paynter Communications LLC is one of the few firms in the U.S. exclusively focused on crisis management and crisis communications.
In 2009, Hennes Communications became Hennes Paynter Communications LLC, reflecting Barbara Paynter's inclusion as a full partner in the firm, as well as her contributions to the firm's growth.
Hennes Paynter Communications offers a wide range of crisis management services, including strategic crisis communications planning, media training, media relations, litigation communications support, pre-crisis preparation, crisis drills and presentation training.
Today, our firm handles a diverse set of clients from corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, trade associations and professional service firms to hospitals, school systems, colleges and universities that are “on trial” in the Court of Public Opinion. Among the types of crises we have handled: industrial accidents, plant closings and staff reductions, white collar crime, product recalls, food contamination, activist protests and attacks, work stoppages and labor disputes, sudden changes in leadership, medical malpractice, environmental clean-ups… and many others.
The firm's principals are Bruce Hennes and Barbara Paynter, APR.
Our staff includes former reporters, newsroom producers and professional communicators with extensive corporate, government and education experience. We are based in Cleveland, Ohio.
The firm is a coalition member of ProtectingAmerica.org and National Preparedness Month (US. Dept. of Homeland Security). We are also active with the Business Emergency Planning Institute.
Hennes Paynter Communications is certified as a Small Business Enterprise.
Ron Fountain, Chairman of the Board
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight Issue Statement
The following statement is issued on behalf of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight:
CLEVELAND - May 11, 2013 - Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are extremely grateful for the generous assistance and loving support of their families, friends, and the community. They are also very grateful for the tireless efforts of numerous law enforcement officials with the Cleveland Police Department, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff, the FBI, and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office.
Amanda Berry says, "Thank you so much for everything you're doing and continue to do. I am so happy to be home with my family."
Gina DeJesus says, "I'm so happy to be home and want to thank everybody for all your prayers. I just want time now to be with my family."
Michelle Knight says, "Thank you to everyone for your support and good wishes. I am healthy, happy and safe and will reach out to family, friends and supporters in good time."
There have been numerous requests from the media to interview or speak with Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. In response to those requests, please understand this: Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight will not be participating in any interviews or speaking with any representatives of the media at this time, for the following reasons. First, there is a pending criminal investigation and prosecution. Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight are witnesses and victims in that proceeding. It is not in the best interests of anyone connected with that proceeding for Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight to be making statements to the media while that proceeding is pending.
Second, and most importantly, Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight have asked – in fact, have pleaded – for privacy at this time so that they can continue to heal and reconnect with their families. You all care greatly about their well-being, so please respect this most basic request. Give them the time, the space, and the privacy so that they can continue to get stronger.
There may be a time, at some point in the future, that Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight will want to tell their stories. That will not be while the criminal proceeding is pending and it will not be until they advise us that they are ready to do so.
From this point forward, we ask that all media inquiries be made to Barbara Paynter at Hennes Paynter Communications. It would be very helpful if inquiries are made in writing. We will consider every inquiry and respond at the appropriate time.
Finally, there continue to be numerous generous offers of support from members of the community. Ms. Berry, Ms. DeJesus, and Ms. Knight are very appreciative of the generosity. The offers have come in many forms. Persons interested in providing support are encouraged to work with legitimate entities such as the Cleveland Courage Fund. Please contact Jim Wooley (216-586-7345) or Heather Kimmel (216-586-7195) at Jones Day with any questions about providing support.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.
Bar Leader Magazine: "How to Work With Media; Not Be the Villain"
Bruce Hennes recently spoke at the ABA Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago, describing the difference between a legal defense and a public relations defense. READ THE FULL STORY
Hennes Paynter Partners with United Educators
Hennes Paynter Communications has partnered with United Educators, the leading provider of risk management and liability insurance to educational institutions, to provide crisis communications coverage to eligible UE members. We are a pre-approved crisis communications service provider for UE's member schools, colleges and universities that may require specialized planning and communications services for a covered crisis event.
Hennes Paynter Featured in PR Agency Report Card
We are pleased to be featured in the Holmes PR Agency Report Card, which provides credible, independent profiles of more than leading 400 public relations firms each year. SEE THE FULL REPORT
Bruce Hennes on WKYC-TV: the Lance Armstrong blood doping scandal
Crisis expert Bruce Hennes speaks with WKYC-TV's Sara Shookman on Lance Armstrong's doping scandal and his decision to come clean to Oprah. SEE THE INTERVIEW
Hennes Paynter Wins Prestigious Communications Award 4th Year in a Row
For the 4th year in a row, Hennes Paynter Communications won a gold “Rocks” award for our Crisis Comm & Media Relations E-Newsletter from the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. With more than 6,400 subscribers, our newsletter works to keep you informed about the discipline of crisis management with authoritative commentary, and with best practices from breaking crises in the news.
The “Rocks” award acknowledges outstanding public relations programs incorporating sound research, planning, execution and evaluation. It’s the fourth year in a row Hennes Paynter Communications has won top honors for crisis communications work at the “Rocks” awards.
“For more than a decade, our Crisis Comm & Media Relations E-Newsletter has brought subscribers carefully selected items about the art of well-crafted commun-ications,” said Nora Jacobs, vice president at Hennes Paynter Communications, “It’s built so you can bring yourself up-to-speed on crisis management with a quick skim, or take a deeper dive with links we provide on every item.”
Last year, the firm won the 2011 gold "Rocks" award for its work on behalf of Saint Joseph Academy, the only Catholic all-girls' school in the city of Cleveland.
In 2010, Hennes Paynter won a gold Rocks award for its work on behalf of The MetroHealth System, which faced public scrutiny when the organization's vice president of construction and his assistant were implicated in a bribery and kick-back scheme.
In 2009, Hennes Paynter won the coveted "Best of Show" award from the Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America for its work with another agency on the national peanut butter recall.
2012 Business Emergency Planning Professional Excellence Award (BEPPE) Winners Announced
The BEPPEs, sponsored by the Business Emergency Planning Institute and Hennes Paynter Communications, recognize organizations that have successfully mitigated a business disruption or proactively prepared to avoid or better respond to a potential disaster with effective business continuity planning.
2012 BEPPE AWARD WINNERS
Barbara Paynter on WKYC-TV: the Penn State Freeh Report Seminar
Crisis expert Barbara Paynter speaks with WKYC-TV's Robin Swoboda on the Freeh Report and Penn State's crisis communications catastrophe. SEE THE INTERVIEW