A media relations primer for Anthony Scaramucci

A media relations primer for Anthony Scaramucci

Apparently the new White House Communications Director doesn't understand how journalism works. Here's a quick primer:

  • If you're talking to a reporter, that's an interview.
  • Anything you say during an interview can be used by the reporter (unless you clarify and agree in advance that something is either 'background' or 'off the...
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Are Rob Ford's talking points working?

Are Rob Ford's talking points working?

Rob Ford and his brother Doug launched an ambitious media blitz last week to hit back at critics. But how effective was their strategy? I had a chance to chat with Elissa Freeman of Canada.com a few days ago to give her my two cents about Rob Ford's PR strategy (or lack thereof). Other PR folks who weighed in with their opinions were Jodi Echakowitz of Echo Communications and Diana Conconi

You can read the article here. Thanks to Elissa and Canada.com for asking me to participate. 

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Rob Ford beats Obamacare, Fukushima and Lady Gaga for news searches

Rob Ford beats Obamacare, Fukushima and Lady Gaga for news searches

Thanks to the six-month long Crackgate scandal and the ensuing media coverage Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is one of the most recognizable people in the world. Ford has become a running segment on The Daily Show. He's been ridiculed by David Letterman, Jay Leno, the Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon), Howard Stern and Saturday Night Live. It seems like the whole world is talking about Toronto's mayor. But is there an objective way to see how big the Rob Ford story really is?

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Shoving reporters is not a great media strategy

Shoving reporters is not a great media strategy

Another day, another media circus around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. CBC reporter Steven D'Souza just posted this Vine video of one of the Mayor's aides physically shoving reporters out of the way. As you can see from the video, this is pretty aggressive stuff. D'Souza said in a later tweet that the shoving was much worse inside the office area.

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How big is the Rob Ford story? Let's ask Google Trends

How big is the Rob Ford story? Let's ask Google Trends

Mayor Rob Ford is (once again) dominating news headlines after Toronto Police announced they have a copy of the infamous cellphone video from last May. But just how big is the Rob Ford story? To give you an idea, here's a Google Trends comparison of worldwide news search volumes over the past 30 days. To put the media attention around the Rob Ford story in context, I wanted to compare search volumes around other big names in the news this month...

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Stonewalling the media only delays the inevitable

Stonewalling the media only delays the inevitable

 A little over five months. In the end, that's how much time Toronto Mayor was able to buy himself by stonewalling the media when faced with accusations of appearing in a video smoking a crack pipe. 

Ford was swarmed relentlessly by the media for weeks last spring. At his home. At his office. At official events. His response was to ignore their questions. His most fulsome statement, made on May 24, 2013, one week after the allegations first surfaced, included the following quote: "Number one, there's no video, so that's all I can say. I can't comment on something that doesn't exist." 

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Burkhardt's poor media relations skills making bad situation worse

Burkhardt's poor media relations skills making bad situation worse

It's been nearly a month since the deadly train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which claimed the lives of 47 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Several days after the deadly derailment occurred, Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the train company involved in the crash, held an impromptu press conference in the town. Burkhardt was widely criticized by communicators, the media and the public for what appeared to be a completely tone deaf and insensitive response to the unfolding crisis. So when the CBC interviewed Burkhardt on July 31, listeners might have assumed the railway executive would have undergone extensive media training and that he be able to demonstrate some level of sympathy, regret and a commitment to get to the bottom of what caused the disaster to help prevent something like this from happening in the future. 

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The perils of 'off the record'

The perils of 'off the record'

As communications director to Anthony Weiner, Barbara Morgan was probably secretly awaiting some controversial gaffe by a public figure that would distract the media's attention from her serial sexting employer. Well, mission accomplished. The problem (for Morgan, at least) was that she, herself, was the source of the controversial distraction. While reacting to news that a former intern had written a disparaging article about Weiner and his mayoral campaign in the New York Daily News, Morgan launched into a hard-core, foul-mouthed tirade about the former intern while speaking to a reporter...

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Twitter metrics show extent of backlash against Weiner

Twitter metrics show extent of backlash against Weiner

For the second time in just over two years, Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and NYC mayoral hopeful, held a press conference apologizing for sending explicit photos to women over the Internet. In 2011, his indiscretions forced him to resign from Congress. This time, however, Weiner says he isn't going anywhere and will remain in the race for mayor of New York City. But will the voting public let Weiner (and his alter-ego, 'Carlos Danger') off the hook yet again? Using Twitter as a barometer to gauge the public's reaction to Weinergate-2, early indications suggest the serial sexter's luck may be running out... 

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You can run, but you can't hide (from reporters)

You can run, but you can't hide (from reporters)

You've been ignoring their calls and interview requests for two days, but here they are, a throng of reporters, in person, demanding your company's side of the story.They're shouting questions at you, following you as you walk down the street. You can feel the giant TV camera lenses focused on you. The bright lights are searing your retinas. Your heart feels like it's in your throat. Your mind is racing as you search your memory banks for the right thing to do or say -- but to no avail. You feel like a caged animal. Your 'fight or flight' instinct kicks in. You need to make a split second decision:

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Media relations is like a BBQ

Media relations is like a BBQ

Who doesn't love a good barbecue? The sizzle and smoke-infused goodness of your favorite meat on the grill. The tantalizing texture and flavor of grilled peppers, onions and buttered asparagus. And, of course, the palpable anticipation of family and friends as they await a meal, expertly cooked under the open sky. Few summer activities can rival the awesomeness of a barbecue that goes according to plan. But you might be surprised at how often things don't go according to plan...

 

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A lesson in how not to handle a crisis

A lesson in how not to handle a crisis

She was once the queen of greased up, fat-friendly, calorific Southern cooking on the Food Network. But after a bizarre few days that included an admission she once used horribly racist language  and ended with her blowing off a previously scheduled, heavily promoted Today Show interview , Ms. Deen has been unceremoniously booted from her throne as food television royalty. There are a few lessons observers can take away from the way Ms. Deen and her representatives handled this mess... 

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How to handle a media scrum during a crisis

How to handle a media scrum during a crisis

When it comes to media scrums, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the vast majority of people will make it through their entire careers without finding themselves at the center of one of these stressful, impromptu press conferences. The bad news is that if you do find yourself suddenly surrounded by a circle of clamoring reporters during a crisis, you will have likely had very little time to prepare...  

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Google Trends shows magnitude of Rob Ford story

Google Trends shows magnitude of Rob Ford story

The Rob Ford 'crack allegations' story has dominated headlines in Canada and parts of the United States for the past week. In addition to the salacious nature of the allegations of drug use by the mayor of one of the largest cities in North America, there have been surreptitious meetings between journalists and drug dealers and high-profile references to a secret videotape that allegedly shows the Mayor smoking from what appears to be a crack pipe.

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Bad news and the importance of timing

Bad news and the importance of timing

In the world of public relations and reputation management, timing is usually the factor over which people have the least amount of control. The crisis communications cycle is usually set in motion by something or someone outside our control. The cruise ship runs out of power in the middle of the ocean. The tanker spills its cargo. An insider blows the whistle.

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Gravy train wreck: Rob Ford's worst crisis yet

Gravy train wreck: Rob Ford's worst crisis yet

To say that Rob Ford's relationship with the media has been rocky since he became the mayor of Canada's largest city would be an understatement. Even with this kind of media relations track record, this is a very, very bad day for Rob Ford.​

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Should you respond during a crisis?

Should you respond during a crisis?

Elissa Freeman (@elissapr) recently wrote an interesting piece on this topic for PR Daily. Her article was inspired by the recent Lululemon transparent yoga pants controversy but brings up some worthwhile issues and questions for people in the communications industry.

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Crisis communications tips from The West Wing

Crisis communications tips from The West Wing

Crisis communications is one of the most stressful jobs around. And while there's no shortage of great courses, textbooks and videos out there to help you hone your crisis communications skills, there's no teacher like good...

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