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The 15-Seconds Blog

  • Make My Day

    Want to make a reporter’s day?

    Run from the camera, call the cops, sneak into a bathroom.Make yourself look guilty.

    That is exactly what four members of Atlanta’s Fulton County School Board did last year when a local TV reporter tried to ask them some questions.

    We’ve recently come across the video below of one of our favorite investigative reporters, Wendy Saltzman, from CBS46 in Atlanta trying to get some elected officials to answer basic questions. What made the School Board members shameful behavior even more unconscionable is that ran away following the written advice of a paid public relations chief…who must have learned her craft the same fine folks advising Toyota and Tiger Woods.

    The issue before the four fleeing elected officials was not some grave malfeasance or the maltreatment of school kids. It was the rather commonplace overpayment for school supplies.
    Here is CBS Atlanta’s Wendy Salzman’s report:

    Come on people, this is PR 101 stuff. You could easily have said something. like: “This board will thoroughly investigate this matter in a timely fashion. When that probe is complete we will answer all you questions. If tax dollars have been misspent we will work to restore those funds to best serve the children of this county.”

    Now that took 15 seconds to say. A sound bite, not a lie or “let me out of here before I confess.” Remember, a smile and a few calm words while looking directly at the camera will preserve your authoritative image and will not give the reporter pictures of someone looking as guilty as sin.

    Trust us — ignore our advice and you will be making the investigative reporter’s day.

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  • Beam Me Up

    The only thing certain about making a live TV appearance — is that nothing is certain.  Guests need to be flexible.  Segments scheduled for the end of a live hour are often squeezed for time.  But if you have a message to deliver, a few minutes is better than none, right?

    Apparently Walter and Judy Koenig don’t think so.  The couple are the parents of actor Andrew Koenig (L) who appeared on the ’80s TV show “Growing Pains” and has been missing in Vancouver, Canada since February 14th.  Walter Koenig (R) is an actor himself — best known for playing “Chekov” on the original Star Trek.

    The couple were slated to appear on Larry King Live last night from Vancouver to plead for help in finding their son.  Inexplicably, they walked off the set moments before they were slated to go on.  Some reports suggest they were upset at their segment being delayed (apparently by a report on a whale at Sea World in Orlando killing someone else’s adult child earlier in the day.) The couple later explained their departure because they believed they were treated “disrespectfully.”
    See video below.

    Unless you own the network — you just have to go along with last minute decisions by producers and directors.  If you are gracious and flexible you win points with the stressed out production staff.  If you act like prima donnas – a return invitation may be a long time in coming.

    Update:  Sadly, the next day Andrew Koenig’s body was discovered in a Vancouver park.  His father said that Andrew had taken his own life.

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  • I Did Not Fly With That Woman….

    Remember all those Airport disaster movies?

    Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons starred in a real life version the other day.

    There are a dozen ways Gibbons could have handled the situation when he arrived at Reno’s airport late Monday evening and was ambushed by a tenacious camera crew asking if he had been traveling with his girlfriend. Gibbons chose the worst option.

    He could have ignored the questions, smiled and moved on.

    He could have politely but succinctly told the truth and departed.

    He could have stopped and exchange pleasantries, danced around the tough questions and rode off into the sunset.

    Instead, the Governor gave totally unbelievable, fabricated answers which could be instantly disproved.  When confronted with the facts, the Governor told the reporter that he was “full of S–T”.

    Check out the video below:

    You don’t need one of those “full body” airport scanners to see through Jim Gibbons.  The Governor is already embroiled in a nasty divorce with lots of icky detail and has been the subject of much ridicule in his home state.The guy makes South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford look like a paragon of virtue by comparison.

    Twelve hours after getting caught lying on videotape, the Governor blew it again – this time in writing. Instead of simply apologizing for his on camera lies or letting them die in the 24 hours news cycle, he issued this statement to KLAS-TV reporter Jonathan Humbert:

    “I apologize for any ambiguity or confusion caused by my answers to your questioning of me late last night. I had just finished three days of arduous meetings and a cross-country flight when I was suddenly confronted with your questions. I admit I was briefly stunned to face your brazen inquiries about my personal life.”

    “Ambiguity or confusion”? We guess that is Gibbons-speak for lies.

    We almost always advise that you can and should say something to an ambushing news crew even if it only, “I am sorry but I really do not have anything to say to you tonight. If you would to schedule an interview please call my office.”

    We sometimes advise that when caught cold, you can always just walk away since there is only so much airtime a TV station will devote to a mute interviewee.

    We NEVER advise lying. Ever! It is not because lying is wrong — well, not ONLY because of that.  But because you WILL get caught and look like an even bigger idiot than you already are.   In Gibbon’s case — we did not know that was possible.

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