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Photo Credit: ABC

Photo Credit: ABC

While watching a recent episode of ABC’s Modern Family, a real media relations scenario was presented as part of the popular sitcom’s story line.

Mitchell Pritchett and his husband, Cameron Tucker, were at a Clean Water social event when they saw local TV news reporter/anchor Ann Gibbs, of KHZJ Channel 12 News.

Mitchell approached her with a story idea about a court case he was working on in which homeless people in the area were being taken advantage of by a corporation that was paying them slave wages.  Sounds like a legitimate news story to me.

When Gibbs discovered that Cam was an openly gay high school football coach, her interest in the homeless vs. corporate greed story veered 180 degrees.  She ended up doing a story on Cam and his coaching.

Hypothetically, of course, was it more newsworthy?  No.  Was it better for ratings? Yes.

How many times do we see this?

Many years ago, we were working on the introduction of night-time bus service in Phoenix, something the residents had been clamoring for for years.  We held a news conference to make the big announcement at dusk, just after the 6 p.m. newscasts had ended.  One media outlet attended.

A few days after that, we had been tipped off that a group of regular commuters were going to have a bridal shower on board a bus on their way to work.  Of course, we let the media know.  Wouldn’t you know it – we almost had to get an extra bus to accommodate the media!

Has this “fun” vs. real news impacted you in your client work – or vice versa when the house fire or single-car rollover canceled your live shot?

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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