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Arment Dietrich

Media Relations 101

By: Arment Dietrich | February 2, 2007 | 
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I think everyone by now knows that the Cartoon Network caused the Department of Homeland Security to shut down Boston for some time yesterday afternoon. 

While a pretty rookie mistake – not letting the city in on the stunt to avoid this kind of disaster – I think the thing that bothers me the most is what happened when the media called Interference Inc., for comment.

A woman who answered the phone at the New York-based firm’s offices on Wednesday afternoon said the firm’s CEO was out of town and would not be able to comment until Thursday.

Media relations 101…have a spokesperson ready to comment and train your front-end staff to be able to correctly direct calls from the media.

I do, however, like the splash page Interference has posted on their Web site:

We at Interference, Inc. regret that our efforts on behalf of our client contributed to the disruption in Boston yesterday and certainly apologize to anyone who endured any hardship as a result. Nothing undertaken by our firm was in any way intended to cause anxiety, fear or discomfort to anyone. We are working with Turner Broadcasting and appropriate law enforcement and municipal authorities to provide information as requested and take other appropriate actions.

But this also serves as a reminder for all of us – don’t make rookie mistakes and always have a plan for talking to the media…even if your CEO is traveling and unavailable to take or return phone calls.

What are your thoughts?

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