The Gold Standard Press Secretary

  • The PR person should have a feel for news — what makes news and what doesn’t. It is not the media’s job to “ask the right” question, but the newsmakers job to deliver the right messages.
  • The PR person should be ahead of the curve when it comes to issues. In other words, he or she should be able to predict to a reasonable degree which messages will resonate with the media (the public).] This doesn’t just mean thinking outside the box. Sometimes it means building a new box.
  • The PR person should have both common sense and political sense. The two are kissing cousins. Generally, this is not something one takes off a book shelf or in a classroom.
  • The PR person should be fearless in giving his superiors advice. This can be done diplomatically — but it has to be done. We often describe PR as being able to tell a CEO what he already knows but doesn’t want to hear.
  • The PR person should be a generalist. He or she should know a little about nearly every topic under the sun. This means getting away from your comfort zones. So, read — a lot.
  • A PR person needs a creative streak. The competition to make news is great. You want someone who has a new idea every hour on the hour like Old Faithful.
My last picture with Sen. Byrd the year before he died with my family in his office.

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J. Michael Willard

J. Michael Willard

I am a novelist but my day job is utilizing my years as a business consultant, journalist, and public service in the field of international development.