The media came under fire from former vice president Al Gore recently for trivializing important events and sensationalizing the trivial. At a recent book signing in New York for his latest book, The Assault on Reason, Gore took the opportunity to lambaste the press for spending more headlines on Britney Spears’ hairdos than on global warming and the war in Iraq.
Many of today’s corporate executives have become so trained in avoiding missteps when it comes to media interviews that they’re turning off both journalists and the public, according to an article by media trainer Jane Praeger in Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog, a PR industry newsletter. Reacting to the today’s sound bite culture, she noted, execs have often been trained only in pre-emptive damage control – they learn to “make their points early, speak succinctly,…acknowledge tangential questions without necessarily answering them” and how to “not blurt out statements they would later regret.”
Two New York University public relations professors contend that while most companies view reputation as something “soft” and “intangible,” it actually has solid value that can be measured – as evidenced by the recent scandals involving Enron, Worldcom and other companies, which show that “reputations can surely be mismanaged.”