I did an interview with forthright breakfast radio presenter Nick Ferrari on London’s LBC 97.3 at 8.36am on the way to work this morning (Nick was four minutes late, I had to jump put of a meeting to do it, but I let that slide).
The company seemed relevant. I was on after Chancellor Alistair Darling had had his say on the Budget and shadowy George Osborne had responded, but before LibDem financial flagbearer Vince Cable. Nice I could be squeezed in.
The topic was PR stupidity. Following the inevitable bad publicity about how police won a CIPR award for managing communications around the death of a teenager killed by a speeding patrol car, I was asked for views on why this happened and why PR would look to make hay from such a situation.
I can’t remember Nick’s questions exactly (I prefer to focus on the answers I want to give), but there were a couple and they centred on whether this was sheer stupidity and why organisations think this sort of thing is a good idea.
Points I made, which could have been more succinct:
- The police’s decision to put this assignment in for a PR award was borderline bonkers
- Companies and the public sector must wake up to the fact that handling of ‘bad press’ has changed because the press has changed. PR teams must be able to understand and deliver messages across conventional and social media, and get to grips with how the two interact
- The nature of PR awards must change: the internet means the public can now answer back, and it was inevitable that that would be the case with this specific incident
I wasn’t asked to comment on the Budget, which was a shame.