When Media and PR Collide

3 06 2010

category: media

This clip shines a light on the tensions between press and PR – click here to play or click on the image.

The media and PR can’t live without each other. They’re enmeshed in a relationship that’s sometimes cosy and sometimes fraught. This one’s fraught.

It’s compelling and uncomfortable viewing; on the face of it, it appears to be an overbearing journalist colliding with a very creepy PR guy.

The journalist seems to conform to some of the worst stereotypes; smug and self-important and looking to bully his way to his story. The passive-aggressive  PR guy responds in a way that suggests he’s been on a course that says that human contact diffuses situations. Doesn’t work in this case and difficult to see it ever would. Unless getting himself punched is an outcome he’s seeking.

The backdrop to their encounter is a town hall meeting which only seems to be attended by 2 people.

The background to the story puts another perspective on it. The Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, which caters to some of that city’s most vulnerable residents, is in crisis. It has completely rewritten it’s mission statement which will result in those vulnerable people being out in the cold.

In addition, and the reason for the reporter being there, it had emerged that some of the donations made to improve the life of patients – the Patient Fund – had been diverted to improve the life of staff.

The hospital had been avoiding the reporter’s attempts to get answers, and Marc Slavin, the touchy-feely PR guy, a former lawyer, was not just a PR guy, but directly involved in decisions that had led the hospital to the point it was at.

Rest easy; this time the media, in the form of Dan Noyes of ABC7, are the good guys. Phew.



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