Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Art of CYA, Blaming Down, and MediaMapping Blogs?!

Great, interesting post on Jeneane Sessum's Blog, Allied. Recently, there has been some blogging about PR and poorly thought through pitches to blogs, and the blurring lines between the two.

Well, for the kicker, it turns out that Media Map has the search capability for blogs! Jeneane searched MM for her blog, and found it. That's just funny as hell, and scary.

I posted my .02 to her comment section - lack of oversight by PR firms, etc. - and wanted to elaborate here from some personal experience.

When I was in-house, the firm I was using had a wonderful SNAFU with a reporter.

Without doing any research or without any knowledge , the junior person was put in charge of booking a media tour. He was working on the New York leg of the tour, and asked to book with a reporter who was not based in NYC, and had written about the company that week.

That's all fine and dandy, but here's a little lesson for senior PR people - oversee the tour schedule to make sure that your junior PR people have the right contacts, and to protect them (yes, as a supervisor, you should protect your people). Here's a little lesson for junior PR people - cover your ass and have your supervisor overlook your tour schedule.

And, that also means when you become senior staff, covering your ass does not mean blaming junior staff.

So, because of the one account executive's mistake, the firm gets blackballed by the reporter, the agency gets fired - mainly because the senior people at the firm would not take responsibility for the mistake, and did not return phone calls from me until the end of the following day - and I got to clean up and make nice to avert a potential crisis. Nothing is as fun and stress-free as a crisis! Woo hoo!

Something I learned from my mentor, the Tiger, was to always accept responsibility for mistakes and to pass on congratulations and praise to those you supervise. His reasoning was that he was paid the big bucks to get shit on, and that the junior people were learning and should never get blamed for things that should have been caught by the highers-up.

It's a philosophy I try to do my work by, and the way I try to run POP! Public Relations.
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