It clearly was a bad day for Canadian Sara MacIntyre, the new Director of Communications for British Columbia’s Premier, Christy Clark. The spokeswoman made headlines, culminating in an entire news segment on CBC, for her PR style. Probably best described as “Mean Girl” PR.
What got journalists agitated were her tone and demeanour at a public forum where the press were clearly invited. Taking on the mantle of an overly officious gatekeeper, the Premier’s communications head simmered with visible irritation and anger, declining to make the Premier available to reporters despite the fact that her boss was only several feet away. While it was her debut week in the role, (she was previously with the Canadian Prime Minister’s office), MacIntyre came off as an uppity sorority girl, gate-keeping a drinks party, rather than the communications head of a public official with a commitment to transparency.
A bad start for the first week in the job. From now on have someone else front the cameras.
The PR Verdict; “F” for Sarah MacIntyre and her future relationship with the media. Claiming the Premier is unavailable and is not taking questions should only be used rarely as a PR tactic. And preferably when the Premier isn’t there in the room.
PR Lesson: Choreography matters. Stage manage these encounters so that every journalist feels there was at least some justification for attending the event. Next time, if the Premier doesn’t want to answer questions (for whatever reason) shepherd all the journalists into one area, set aside three minutes and call on one of the friendlier, sympathetic reporters for a question. Following the brief answer, wrap it up and move the Premier on, complaining the schedule for the day is very tight and beyond your control. Done.
To see the CBC news segment click here.
What’s your PR verdict for Sarah MacIntrye?