Crisis communications experts commonly advise managers to get out ahead of the media to increase management's credibility. We use an experiment to examine how investors' responses to management getting out ahead of a negative media story are moderated by management's action plan and the media's focus on the company. When the company is the focus of the media's lede, investors respond more negatively when the company gets out ahead of the media with plans to change, instead of stay, the course to handle the negative issue. Yet, investors respond more positively when the company responds after the media with plans to change, instead of stay, the course. In contrast, when the media does not focus on the company in its lede, but instead only mentions the company in the story, we find that investors' responses are not sensitive to management's strategic disclosure choices that we examine.

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