Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Media Relations 101: Never assault a news photographer

This is particularly meaningful to me, as one of my early experiences with the Red Cross was an assignment to Louisiana after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. A local TV station was interviewing an unhappy disaster victim--in the middle of a public street--when the local Red Cross PR person walked up to the photographer and shoved the camera into the photographer's face. Here, a New Mexico TV station covers a minor news story, and the photographer is attacked by an as-yet unidentified NM state employee.

Never. Ever. Assault. A. News. Photographer.

Citizen journalism is here to stay. Get used to it.

Citizen journalist attends event open to the public. Citizen journalist brings video camera, which appears to be one of many at this event. Citizen journalist attempts to ask questions of the visiting speaker. College "public affairs" staffer intervenes, has citizen journalist ejected--temporarily. Public affairs staffer turns a non-story--or at most a story about the citizen journalist and his intended interview subject--into a story about the public affairs staffer's behavior. Public affairs staffer has succeeded in making her employer--a university ostensibly dedicated to free speech, inquiry, and learning--look quite bad. Attention, all media relations people: new media and citizen journalism are here to stay--get used to it.