The following is the Touchdowns and Fumbles piece I contributed to this week’s newsletter. If you haven’t signed up for Veritas Communications’ always excellent and thoroughly entertaining newsletter, you can do so on the Touchdowns and Fumbles Web site.
From my home country comes a story coaches around the world will be very familiar with. A football (or soccer, depending on your latitude) coach was sacked following a lackluster defeat. Here at TD&F, we don’t comment on operational issues like the fact the manager had won them two straight promotions, that the defeat was against a team just relegated from the Premier League or that the dismissal followed the signing of a lucrative four-year contract. No, we cannot comment on these issues but we can give Peterborough United’s media relations department a definite Fumble for refusing to confirm or deny reports of Darren Ferguson’s sacking and then going home for the night, having colleagues tell media they “were non-contactable by mobile phone.” In today’s era of always-on communications, we (both online and traditional) media relations professionals need to be always contactable and to never be included in the story as “could not be reached for comment” or the even worse, “declined to be interviewed for this feature.” Communicators can learn some hard truths from the communications team at the “Posh”. One, never be absent from a story unless you are being strategically absent and two, never clock off before your reporters’ deadlines.