PR: We’re on the Job

April 23, 2009

It was inevitable that something like this would happen: The Washington D.C. police department has hired a public relations firm.

police_pr_logo_c-c2Now you’re probably thinking this is for damage control purposes, but you’d be wrong! It’s about building bridges between the police and the people of D.C.:

At a time when crime in the District has fallen, [Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier] wants to lift the profile of individual officers and has turned to a public relations firm for help, hoping that good press will engender more trust with the community.

Lanier’s decision to seek outside assistance in communicating with the public is the latest example in the District and across the country of a shift in policing, from shielding the public from crime news to finding the best way to package it to them.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said once-tight-lipped police agencies, not wanting to scare the public with too much crime information, now understand the power of that information to connect them with residents.

“There was a time in policing when you were really careful and reluctant to give too much information to the public. That’s really turned on its head,” Wexler said. “So today the question is: How do you put that information in a form that’s most useful?”

The article also mentions a Florida police department that is looking to “create a brand” to sell the product of “public safety.”

Enter the PR pros! Pitch your local PD today!

PR pro Chris Ryan seemingly is making a living of it, although he seems to be exclusively focused on damage control.

Posted by Joe Paone


Disorganization, party of 1

November 10, 2008

I hit certain points in the year where I can no longer function without doing some type of massive cleaning.  Sometimes it takes place in the form of hitting delete in my Outlook until the number at the bottom of the screen doesn’t have a comma in it.  Other times, it means accessing my desk clutter, refiling, making binders, labeling folders better and recycling papers that are older than 6 months and at this point just mocking me with their pointless existence on my desk.

I am a habitual multi-tasker.  In typing that one paragraph, I checked my email twice and made three notes on my to do list.  Most jobs require you to have this ability – I’d consider mine more of a disease than a desired skill set.  I am forever wanting to be more organized but neither my brain nor my attention span possess the ability to actually get there for more than a day or two at a time. 

I have come up with some tricks to get necesssary items done – and most of them involve turning off my email and shutting down every single program besides the one I’m working in.  This usually means no Internet Explorer which is definitely a crutch in aiding my rampant multi-tasking / borderline ADHD tendencies. 

I can work very, very quickly on a project when push comes to shove – I am excellent at thinking on my feet, reacting appropriately and efficiently, and assessing problems in a methodical way.  But when it comes to linear thinking, I’m just failing miserably.  I’ve mostly adapted to it – but I just thought I’d ask – how do you stay organized and on task?  What helps you focus?  I’ve got 5 days to finish a number of projects before heading back across the country for yet another trip.  Advice is welcome.

posted by: Ashley / ashleyatcaster on Twitter


PR Nightmares, Volume One

April 29, 2008

Because my co-workers have set the bar so high here, I decided to go in another direction with today’s post. (And seriously, have you read the rest of the posts on BlogCaster? There’s some great writing and incredible marketing/public relations advice here, just ripe for the taking.)

Anyhow, because the rest of the internet occasionally exists for the sole purpose of giving me potentially shoddy and/or inspired ideas, I did the ol’ “So what’s in the news today?” drive-by, and I came across a few stories that really tickled me. I figured I’d share them with you and we could maybe make a project of this.

The project: Solving the Most Terrifying PR Problems Imaginable. If we all put our heads together, maybe we can devise strategies for helping these poor entities dig out of their undoubtedly huge PR holes. Alternatively, we could just make sophomoric jokes and/or attempt to be more clever than each other.

Our first three contestants:

A Baltimore-area condo whose residents are regularly startled late at night by a jarring explosion of light and sound that no one (not even Lester from The Wire, I would assume) can yet identify.

Imagine owning this condo development:

“The bedroom actually lights up like day,” says Elaine O’Mansky, who lives in the Stevenson Commons condominium building near Beth Tfiloh. “It’s instantaneous and wakes us up out of a very deep sleep.”

She isn’t alone. Barbara Friedman is Homeowner’s Association president for the area.

She was up late one night sweeping her back patio when she heard the boom.

“I hit the deck,” Friedman explained. “It was so loud, I thought I was being shot. I literally hit the deck.”

After she realized she hadn’t been shot, she started emailing other homeowners to see if they heard it too.

“Then my email got flooded because hundreds of people were hearing these noises and thought it was their imagination,” she said.

So how does Stevenson Commons spin its way out of this one? Only the comments section knows!

Then there’s the classic, textbook case of the abandoned U.S. Army minefield that became a beloved drive-in-movie theater and then a notoriously scuzzy flea market that was recently shut down because the state declared the site unsafe for the public because there’s, like, active mines and stuff still on the site. Which is unfortunate for the tiny, neglected borough of Palmyra, N.J., which has big, hopeful, puppy-dog designs on redeveloping the land. So, with a little bit of PR know-how, how do we make this site sound appealing, especially if the state doesn’t eventually step forward and basically pay people to develop there? (Don’t count that option out, of course. This is why we pay taxes, after all.)

And finally, add 9 to 411 and we have Josh Howard. I know Mark Cuban is anxiously awaiting our solid, sage, presumably sober advice with this one.

Let’s see if we can’t save these poor people from themselves, shall we?

Posted by: Joe Paone