Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Off the Record" Does Not Exist

The latest and greatest example of why celebrities, businesses, individuals - heck, anybody for that matter - should never, ever assume that a communication is "off the record": Alex Rodriguez asks Katie Couric for advice.

Katie Couric stated on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night that A-Rod called her and at one point asked, "What team do you think I should play for?" Alex originally called Katie to apologize for lying to her about his steroids use during a 60 Minutes interview in December 2007.

OK, this is one of those times when a person (A-Rod) offered inside information to a trusted media contact (Katie Couric) in what he likely assumed was an "off the record" conversation.

Lesson Learned
Write this down: "Off the record" does NOT exist. Period.

It doesn't matter if you and the reporter have an "agreement" worked out. It doesn't matter if it's an email or a Twitter message. It doesn't even matter if it's a call to an old media friend asking for advice or catching up. You never, EVER assume anything is off the record. Why? That's right, because off the record doesn't exist. It is a figment of your imagination. Wishful thinking. Sound byte bait. Don't let you, or your clients, bite into it.

Oh, just so you know, a lack of response IS a response, which is never what? Off the record!

This is a critical lesson in public relations and media training 101. Read it, learn it, live it.

On the record: Alex Rodriguez needs some major image management and public relations help.

- Justin Moore, Charlotte, NC
FOX Sports' take on Alex Rodriguez asking Katie Couric for career advice.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Charlotte Snow Storm Illuminates Twitter Benefits

"Winter Storm '09," as the latest winter weather system was so simplistically named, dumped half a foot or more of rain, sleet and snow on much of the Charlotte area Sunday night. Typical of the below-freezing fallout in this part of the country, people freaked. Rightfully so in some instances: Duke Energy reported as many as 185,000 power outages in NC Monday.

Information and communication are critical in times of emergency, be it weather related or otherwise. We need to know the facts; the when, where, how much, what the $%&* is going on, and everything else. Social media like Twitter are ideal platforms for real-time communication with customers, friends, media, businesses, government, etc. Some organizations are participating, some haven't caught on yet.

That said, here are 10 Charlotte area "Emergency Tweeps" to follow, because you just never know...
  • And one more to really keep in mind in a few months: The National Hurricane Center - @NHC_NOAA
If you're like me, you're wondering why these folks below AREN'T on Twitter. Listen up list, you have followers in waiting, get a move on!
I may have missed a few, or maybe these organizations are on Twitter and I overlooked them. Hey, I'm human :) What other organizations would be ideal on Twitter during an emergency? Leave a comment with suggestions or corrections and I'll add to/republish a list of emergency-related groups in the Charlotte area that are/need to be on Twitter.

The more inclusive a list we can develop, the better off we'll all be! Stay in touch, stay warm, and most of all, stay informed!