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How not to bury bad news

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A tip of the hat here to Anglo American Platinum, for handling dreadful news in a direct way.

Its annual results, out today, were strong. But the first thing it reported about what sort of year it had was this: the tragic death of two colleagues.

Mining is a dangerous industry and sometimes there are fatalities.

Too often the mining trade tries to fudge the issue. Or it reveals the news of the deaths on page 67.

You can see why, but it is insulting to the dead and makes hacks suspicious of practically everything else that company says.

Because he was upfront, Amplat’s chief executive Chris Griffith sounds sincere when he says the loss of the two staff was “felt by every one of us”.

This gives him room to talk about the company’s safety record in general. To talk about what it does and what it is trying to improve.

If someone who works for you dies, that’s the news. If you plan to fire lots of people, that’s also news. And you have to put it at the top of your release, or get a fully deserved slap.

Fair play to Amplat. Others should take note.

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