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  • 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.

  • 3 Ways Not To Improve Your Public Image

    Here’s some recent examples not to follow.

    1. Tiki Barber

    The rap against him:  Self-obsessed ex-football player who dumped his pregnant wife to run off with an NBC intern.  Now plotting a return to the gridiron, four years after retiring.

    The smart approach: Barber should keep his mouth shut and let his on field performance do the talking.

    What’d he did:   Sat down for a lengthy HBO Real Sports interview explaining that after losing his broadcasting job he has suddenly discovered that he “needs” football. What’s worse, he followed that with a lengthy interview on WFAN radio. Barber insisted that his agent be on the line with him and angrily debated whether he had been fired by NBC.  Not a good way to demonstrate humility.

    2. Mitt Romney

    The rap against him:  Thought not to be a man of the people.  A patrician millionaire out of touch with potential voters in the 2012 presidential election.

    The smart approach: Don’t tell us you are a man of the people. Show us by your actions.

    What he did: Jokingly described himself as “unemployed”– an attempt at humor that fell flat. Then, when out campaigning, looked in his wallet for a couple dollars to give a kid and struggled to find anything smaller than a $100 bill.

    3. Ron Artest

    The rap against him: Known as an eccentric, erratic and outspoken NBA basketball player most famous for his role in a 2004 brawl in which he went into the stands at a game in Detroit hitting a fan who he thought (incorrectly) was the person who threw soda at him while he was laying down on the scorers table.  Artest was suspended for the remainder of the season missing 86 games. Although he has avoid anything quite so dramatic since — Artest has continued to be controversial.

    The smart approach: Act normal.  Do good deeds.  (Artest has done some of this, annoucing that he was donating much of his salary in 2010-2011 to various mental health charities)

    What he did: Petitioned L.A. County Superior Court to allow him to change his name to “Metta World Peace.”  

    At least it wasn’t the worst name change idea that came to light this week.  Media accounts say that documents found in Usama bin Laden’s hideout suggest that the terrorist leader had considered changing the name of his Al Qa’ida organization because they have gotten some (exceedingly well-deserved) bad ink.


  • Heavy Handed Media Relations

    We are all for a “hands-on” approach to media relations — but here is someone who takes it WAY too far.

    Dan Noyes of KGO-TV in San Francisco was doing a story on the “patient gift fund” at the Laguna Honda Hospital. According to KGO, the fund is supposed to pay for small gifts like candy bars for patients — but there are allegations that hospital administrators have been using it for their own lavish meals and travel.

    So Noyes and his camera crew show up at a town hall meeting at the hospital in hopes of interviewing Hospital Director Mivic Hirose.

    As can be seen in the raw footage below, the hospital communications director, Marc Slavin, inserted himself in the process and got excessively touchy-feeling with the reporter and camera person and finally called off the meeting when things got, shall we say, out of hand.

    Slavin breaks about every rule in the book during this three minute video. Someone should tell the hospital spokesman to get a grip — on himself.

    Check out the rest of our blog here.

    h/t TodaysBigThing.com