A lesson in bad media relations

There was an old Saturday Night Live sketch that featured a character named Leonard Pinth-Garnell . He was an arts critic who showcased the worst in everything; Bad Playhouse, Bad Cinema, Bad Opera, etc. The audience got to witness a truly awful performance.

Today we’ll borrow a page from Leonard Pinth-Garnell for an installment of Bad Media Relations. KGO-TV in San Francisco was doing a story looking at how money in a hospital patient gift fund was being spent.

Watch as the hospital community relations director touches investigative reporter Dan Noyes a couple dozen times and then shoves his hand in a camera lens. It’s one of the most bizarre PR-media encounters you’ll ever see.

The station says it went to a community meeting to try and get an interview after the hospital ignored its phone calls. This is a standard practice, and an excellent reason to not ignore repeated phone calls from a reporter. Not calling back is basically an invitation for the I-Team to show up unannounced.

The PR person says the reporter purposely disrupted the meeting and the hospital says the story was unfair and distorted the facts. You can read statements from both here.

This ugly scene was easily preventable. Call the reporter back and find out what they are working on. Work with the hospital administrators and defend your position if you believe what you’re doing is right. Do a sit-down interview with the reporter, or at least provide a statement or written answers to his questions.

Handle your media relations properly and you have a story that you may not like on one TV station. Bungle your media relations and your story is now all over major news sites and the video of your bizarre tactics are there for all to see.

To quote Leonard Pinth-Garnell: “Stunningly bad!”