Friday, November 13, 2015

UGA Public Affairs, "too busy" to comment?

Our own Grady Newsource had a follow-up story about a student kidnapping on campus and student fears about safety in the Tate parking deck. This part caught my eye (video and text of story)
Grady Newsource contacted the UGA Public Affairs office about its security measures, but the office said they were too busy to comment. 
First, it should be "it" was too busy to comment, not "they." Basically the same thing was said on air (though not in the brief video seen on the link above). My first response, which I put in the form of a tweet when I heard the broadcast, was:
And I had a quick response from one of the folks over there asking for details, so I explained what I just saw on air. Unfortunately the bizarre stream on the Grady Newsource site shows not the most recent show but one from earlier in the week. What the hell? Anyway, I can't point to the student journalists's "too busy" comment except in the text of the story, and even more unfortunate I can't point to the post-show critique in which she gives more details and Prof. David Hazinski tees off on public affairs. That alone is worth the price of admission, which is watching some bad public service announcement advertising.

The real problem here is UGA has, for some foolish reason, moved all cop comments to a spokesman at the university PR office. In other words, another layer of flak bureaucracy that is simply not as responsive on journalists deadlines as it should be. The student journalist, in the post-show critique, said she'd tried multiple times since that morning to get a comment about the Tate security and kept getting stonewalled and passed around.

UGA, get it together. Or better yet, give the cops the right to speak. They know a hell of a lot more about this than a PR person. I promise you.

I suspect today a few conversations are being held at the UGA PR mothership on how to do better. Or there'll be a press release that blames the student journalist. Or something. Or nothing. It is a Friday, after all.

Or maybe it was just PR training day and no one was actually around? I dunno.

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