Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baby mania and public relations

Well, now we know Joann Killeen and Mike Furtney have provided their professional public relations services to the octuplets mother for free.

And, Joann gave her first interview about how she is handling the situation. Although, I would probably have picked a more favorable publication for this. While I believe the LA Weekly provides incredible service and reasonable investigative journalism, it comes with an edge and editorializing within news copy. As you can plainly see in this story.

At a minimum, the octuplets mother story is one for the ages. Conversely, it puts a huge spotlight on one of the dozens of specialties within the public relations profession.

As we know, it's usually the last story that counts. What is now a rash of negative news could end up more balanced and possibly more favorable toward the mom.

In spite of Joann's and Mike's best efforts, the media storm continues to swirl with rumor, innuendo, speculation and off-handed expert opinions from those who are working with only partial details. There are very few who provide a more balanced or calm perspective. But much of the coverage is simply picking up on the general public outrage in terms of the mother's perceived lack of income and her choices. (Just listen to a female newscaster's reaction to this story).

It seems, then, there is a long road ahead for Joann and Mike, and her client. I know Mike and Joann and they have a genuine interest in the mom's welfare. They are experienced and know how this story will unfold and how best to manage it.

The "shots" at Joann's and Mike's work will be inevitable, but they have a job to do. Much like a defense attorney must represent clients because they deserve good counsel, individuals and corporations need help with telling their public story. Yet, unlike defense attorney's, public relations professionals can decline work. Both attorneys and public relations professionals must uphold ethical standards. Defense attorneys must believe their clients are innocent and are obligated to provide the best defense. It's a great fundamental to our society - to get adequate legal representation. Yet, public relations professionals have the ability to pass up a client or resign an account. In many cases, it's because there are differences in opinion, or a client didn't reveal some critical detail and it would be difficult to continue representing the client. But, you don't see Joann and Mike running away here.

At the end, the octuplets mom is in the news in a very big way and she deserves professional communications assistance.

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