In an age when newsmakers (and their PR counselors) have the capacity to bypass the filter of traditional journalists — with their own syndicated and optimized news content (think Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz) — PR pros shouldn’t forget that those filters still, by in large, control the dominant swath of the national media agenda.
Hence, the ability to prepare clients for media interviews remains a core PR competency. Top pros will have researched the outlet, reporter and reporter’s past coverage in an attempt to successfully predict most if not all of the journalist’s prospective questions. Remember, mainstream reporters and talk show hosts don’t offer their questions in advance (except perhaps to ultra, in-demand A-listers).
So it is with this lengthy preamble that we arrive at the case of Pete Townshend. Who, you ask? Exactly! Parked in the Sirius Satellite Network’s green room yesterday awaiting his turn on the Howard Stern hot seat, the rock legend overheard the shock jock’s editorial intentions, which included asking Townshend about his kiddie porn rap, dalliances with men, a new “Yoko-like” girlfriend.
Townshend, to his (and his PR handler’s) credit, bolted, never likely to return. Hey, why predict the line of questioning when you can get it right from the source? Howard, next time tell Gary to turn off the speaker in the green room.