Have you ever tried to keep a secret? Ever known something that couldn’t/shouldn’t be made public, but then watched as people started to leak the information out. Not on purpose, but in casual conversation they let something slip. Or maybe they call up a close friend to gossip… er, I mean share a prayer request.
Pretty much when 10 people know something, it’s getting out. It may leak out slowly, but it’s leaking. Anything in the bucket is getting out. From a public relations standpoint, with a piece of newsworthy information, how long do you let the water leak before you just dump the bucket? It is better to control the flow of information, but you have to take circumstances into consideration.
I know of a situation where someone was interviewing for another job. This person wanted to be the one to break the news of his impending departure to the close-knit team that worked with him. Sadly, because a couple people knew the guy was interviewing, and some other folks were just plain nosy, within a few days he found out that almost a dozen people at his job knew he was probably leaving. Amazingly, none of the people on his team knew. So, he told his boss he was going to break the news to them, so they would not hear it second hand. Once it got to 12 people, he knew it was a matter of time before someone got hurt because they found out from someone else. He chose to act then because he knew how the information was traveling, and knew what was at stake. He took a risk and told them even though he had not yet accepted another position.
With our PR question, you have to keep monitoring the situation until you know it’s about to break, or it’s the right time to release the information. Do not get panicked into letting the cat out of the bag, but if someone could get hurt, don’t wait too long.