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The 15-Seconds Blog

  • GM’s Barra Bars Broadcast Media

    GM crash

    General Motor’s Mary Barra admitted this week that, “something went wrong with our process…and terrible things happened.”

    And while that is certainly true and laudable for the new CEO of the auto giant to admit her company mishandled some safety issues for 13 years, saying she is deeply sorry is not quite enough.

    Yesterday, she held what GM described as a news conference but, according the the WXYZ-TV report below, only handful of print reporters were invited, slamming the car door on  local Detroit stations and the national news networks.

    There are times (particularly when dealing with good news situations) when companies can play favorites. But when you are in a hole like GM — you can’t afford to annoy major parts of the media.

    Inviting only selected media reminds us of the Tiger Wood’s debacle of a “Press Conference” when he was trying to dig himself out of a shameful image disaster. Woods invited only “friendly” reporters,those whose livelihoods depend on access to the golf pro – and he did not take questions.

    Barra did take some questions yesterday but by excluding broadcast media she gave the impression that GM has something to hide…it was a backward step in what she called “the journey to resolve this.”

    “As a member of the GM family and as a mom with a family of my own, this really hits home for me. We have apologized, but that is just one step in the journey to resolve this,” Barra said.

    Too bad she didn’t invite the broadcast media along for the ride.

  • Media Tip When You Shoot Self in Foot

    You ever have one of those days?  Connersville, Indiana police chief David Counceller just did.


    Chief David Counceller

    He accidentally shot himself in the leg. That would be embarrassing at any time but especially now because Counceller is running for county sheriff.

    According to the IndyStar, the chief took blowing a hole in his thigh in stride.  We give him credit for being a straight shooter when admitting his mistake:  “I know what the dangers are.  It was pure carelessness on my part.”

    When you do something dumb like that — people are going to talk about it — so you might as well beat them on the draw. Had Counceller refused to comment or issued a terse statement would have only emphasized his embarrassment.

    Turns out the Chief has had some practice using himself for target practice.  He says he shot himself in the hand 15 years ago and “that one really hurt.”



    It was clear that the race for sheriff was still on Counceller’s mind: “Some candidates are out there doing things for kids to try to get elected. Me, I shoot myself.  What a way to get publicity.”

    In a situation like this — self deprecating humor is your best defense and Chief Counceller was right on target.






  • Foster Child: Begging Reporter to Leave -Surefire Way to Make the News


    Is a professional athlete accused of fathering a child out of wedlock news?  KRIV-TV thinks so.

     Arian Foster of the Houston Texans begs to disagree.



    Foster reportedly was cited in a lawsuit.  KRIV sent a reporter to try to speak with the woman involved.  No luck.  Then they drove to Foster’s house and caught him outside.  Instead of simply declining comment the running back made some emotional pleas for the reporter to go away.


    “Please get off my property man…please bro.  Is your story that important to you, it is really dog?”

    “Don’t you know how this s**t is tearing me apart?”

    “That’s not OK dog, I’ve got family here. I got two kids here bro!”

    “You can believe her all you want to dog. I know in my heart. I know what’s in me man. This is my house.”


    Foster gave KRIV exactly what they needed — pictures and sound.  Without them it is questionable whether the story would have made the news or not. Even if it did — it would likely have been a short “reader” – not the dramatic TMZ-like episode it turned out to be.

    The lesson here is simple.  Don’t beg journalists not to do a story.  Stay out of sight and silent unless you have something to say that you want on the air.

    Check out the KRIV clip below: