Just a couple days into the New Year and already there’s a PR crisis in the books for 2017. Surprising? Not really. The only thing surprising about this one is that the PR person–the one who is paid to avert such crises–is at the center of it. *Sigh* We can’t make this stuff up, people. My initial thoughts when I heard the story were, “OK, here we have a situation where not one, not two, but multiple reporters are tweeting about an unpleasant run-in with a PR professional. Really, lady? As if reporters can’t stand us enough!” In a nutshell here’s what went down according to this Philly.com article. Reporters in the press box at yesterday’s Philadelphia Eagles game were asked to quiet down as they tried to understand a call that had been made by the officials. Many voiced their displeasure for being told to hush. Most notably, Philadelphia Inquirer writer, Jeff McLane, wasn’t pleased which led to a deeper discussion with members of Eagles’ PR staff. Next thing you know, McLane is ejected from..get this..the stadium by security and the team’s head of PR, Anne Gordon. The reason: violating fan code of conduct. Side note: Uh, hello? In Philadelphia? That’s interesting considering this town is known for its rambunctious fans. Anyhoo, as other reporters watched the drama go down, one live tweeted and shared that the PR rep warned other members of the press they’d get the boot along with Mr. McLane if they interfered. Ouch! So, I’ve been monitoring this story since yesterday and have concluded that there are many, many reasons I would not want to be Anne Gordon right now. Purely from a PR perspective, of course! Here are my starting seven: As the head of PR–trained in and compensated for diffusing PR crises–it’s tough to figure out how one might then become the center of such a crisis. So much of public relations is about building good relationships with members of the press, but one reporter tweeted about the situation using such words as vengeful, petty, and ridiculous. Meanwhile, other members of the journalism community are also making it clear whose side they’re on. As I said before, reporters already think we do more harm than good, this doesn’t bode well for us PR folks. It also doesn’t bode well for the Eagles PR staff team as a whole. Reporters will always be on alert when working with them now, or may try to avoid them altogether. Finally, call me Petty Betty, but the Eagles weren’t that great this year. To have this happen during the final game of another disappointing season makes you wonder if it was even worth it. In other words, Philadelphia Eagles Beat Dallas Cowboys, Lose to Public Relations. If you’ve been following this story, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the PR implications. If this is any sign of what’s to come for PR in 2017, time to buckle your safety belts folks!
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