Posted by: beckbamberger | March 21, 2012

Sara McIntyre’s Media Relations Problem

An essential component for being a public relations practitioner is maintaining good media relations across the globe. Released on prdaily.com today, Sara MacIntyre, director of communications for Christy Clark, British Columbia’s Premier, was criticized for the way she handled her interaction with the press. A video is available here.

MacIntyre’s approach was noted as “counterproductive and unprofessional” for at least four reasons:

1. She forgot who her audience was. The reporter isn’t your audience—the audience is. MacIntyre seemed to forget who she was actually communicating with, and failed to consider how her testy interaction would play in living rooms across Canada.

2. She had an attitude. Being a communications director means you need to at least try to maintain civil relationships with the press. She could have achieved the same goal of preventing the media from asking questions of the Premier in a more graceful manner.

3. She picked the wrong enemy. Politicians often gain traction by beating up on the media. But the media has to do something wrong for that strategy to work. In this exchange, the public didn’t see the press behaving badly. The reporters acted respectfully enough, asked basic questions, and didn’t abuse their right to be in a public space. Since there was no apparent provocation, MacIntyre managed only to make herself look like the bad guy.

4. Her response garnered worse press.
MacIntyre’s response spawned numerous stories across Canada about her approach to media relations. It’s difficult to believe those stories served Premier Clark well.

Do you agree or disagree with PR Daily’s article? How do you personally think she could have handled the situation better?

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