ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 27, 2008

Thus, Putting the Infotainment Style of News Coverage in Perspective


For me, the central takeaway from this Conference is the importance of character. I was so disappointed a couple of years ago with Donald Trump’s keynote presentation. The shallow, egotistical, me-centered values displayed were in complete contrast to 2008’s opening session, highlighted by the Sacred Heart gospel choir and then Craig Newmark. Here is a man who exemplifies doing well by doing good and putting the Golden Rule at the heart of his life and work.

The character theme was further developed in what must have been the liveliest session in the conference. Pat Philbin and Aaron Walker were the “bad guys” of the notorious FEMA press conference. They bared their souls to the packed room, who discovered (much to their surprise) that unlike what was reported, these were two very good communicators with high integrity and character who were caught up in the infotainment style news coverage along with the highly charged political environment. “There but for the grace of God go I,” was a common comment.

Among the lessons learned: Don’t believe everything you read, and be a little slower to pass judgment, particularly when the information comes through the infotainment dominated media.

By Gerald Baron, founder and CEO of PIER Systems, a provider of crisis communication management technology, is founder and president of Baron & Company, and has served as spokesperson during the early stages of the 1999 Olympic Pipeline explosion. Gerald designed a crisis communication technology, which is currently being used by the U.S. Coast Guard, leading oil companies, academic institutions and industry leaders such as Boeing and Allstate, and state and regional Departments of Emergency Management. Baron has written several books, including “Now Is Too Late2”, and has maintained the crisis management and communications blog, Crisisblogger.com.

Join Baron along with Kami watson Huyse for their co-presentation,  Integrating Social Media Into Crisis Planning: Prepare Your Company and Brand in Times of Trouble, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 3 p.m. EDT!

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