Sunday, February 27, 2005

Online Public Relations Thoughts

From Anonymous:

Here is a fascinating post from the "Online Public Relations" Blog.

There are some interesting comments on this blog site regarding the
Los Alamos PR Disaster:


http://online-pr.blogspot.com/2005/02/bad-bad-bad.html


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Bad Bad Bad - Feb 14, 2005

There is a horrific story that everyone should read whose client or company
has government business. It is here.

http://www.sci-tech-today.com/scnce/story.xhtml?story_title=U-S--Admits--Missing--Los-Alamos-Disks-Never-Existed&story_id=30166&category=scnce

The government now admits that two missing computer disks at the Los Alamos
research laboratories, run by the University of California, never existed.
Yup, that's right. The witch hunt and $5.8 million fine levied against the
University for poor security management was for items that were never
created.

University of California's reputation was dragged through the mud, and it
nearly lost control of the labs. Actually, it did lose control of the
labs but the government pays so little to manage them that the new
manager backed out.

So, how does the government say, "I'm sorry" to an organization whose
reputation it wrecked. It sends a threatening letter and fails to lift
the fine.

We have worked with other government contractors who have been hauled
before the government for lapses they didn't commit. The same pattern
happens repeatedly. Bureaucrats rarely say they are sorry, and they
rarely admit they have harmed anyone. They find flimsy excuses to
support their positions even when excuses have nothing to do with the
original charge.

The sanctimoniousness of government bureaucrats is disheartening. These
people believe they are doing the people's business. Hence, anything
they do and say must be right.

Be warned. If you work with the government, watch your flanks. Keep
public affairs specialists at agencies and on the Hill. That is the only
way to survive government witch hunts. Even then, it is difficult.

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I hate to tell this PR guy, but we DO have PR people at LANL and they
are part of our public perception disaster. The whole lot of them,
including 'Baghdad Bob' Fallin should be fired immediately, as their
PR efforts seem to be directed at defending Pete, rather than the
reputation of LANL as a whole.

Comments:
Hey, have you ever heard Bush's press secretary say bad things about Bush? PR guys are supposed to support their management. They don't care about us because they don't make decisions on what to say. That's fed to them from above. They contribute nothing to LANL's mission. They are parasites.
 
There has been an ongoing problem regarding LANL's reputation that never quite seems to improve, no matter who is at the helm. The problem is that it doesn't seem to matter what the media (local, regional or national & beyond) seem to say about LANL or the activities of its workforce, LANL is almost always delayed in responding, rarely refutes anything substantially or substantively, rarely proactively does any PR and doesn't seem to be savvy whatsoever in utilizing the media to gain any respect whatsoever. Marketing may be outside of the core competencies but to allow the media to gain such power over what is supposed to be an intelligent entity is yet another factor in becoming a laughingstock - which is where we've been for the last several years.

It's a damn shame that PR sits on their thumbs while people in the trenches know that there have been misinformation which could have been corrected, refuted or pre-empted and that the people in the trenches feel like their hands are tied since none of us are to speak for the Lab.
 
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