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Tracy Syler-Jones


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#21 RSF

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:49 PM

I don't expect anyone to be perfect, but I do expect our communications director to keep TCU from becoming Reefer U.



Your standards might be a little high. The minute this news became public such jokes were inevitable, and stopping them impossible.
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#22 spoiledguineafrog

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:56 PM

Your standards might be a little high. The minute this news became public such jokes were inevitable, and stopping them impossible.



college kids everywhere get busted for wheelin and dealin, but you don't always hear about it. this story made front page and national news.

#23 froginaustin

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:06 PM

Wow, didn't realize that the job of vice chancelor required god-like skills.

. . ..


Not god-like skills, but . . .

at UTx a Vice-president will make north of $200k/yr.

I don't know what TCU pays its Vice-chancellors, but I strongly suspect that it's enough to expect a very strong skill set in a Vice-chancellor's area of responsibility.
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#24 pcf

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:09 PM

Your standards might be a little high. The minute this news became public such jokes were inevitable, and stopping them impossible.


I thought the press conference helped get the message out that TCU must have a really big problem and that it was such a big deal that they needed to tell everybody on TV.

#25 JurisFrog

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:14 PM

TCU has gotten widespread praise for getting out in front of the story. The two rules for crisis management from a PR perspective are a) get out in front, and b) tell the truth, so that nothing else is uncovered. That way, the news just lasts for just one cycle as opposed to uncovering new things and having the drama play out over two or more news cycles.

So, TCU did the first part correctly--getting out in front of the story.

The problem is that they got out in front of the story in a way that made it seem like a much bigger problem than it was. TCU failed in part b) tell the truth, because what was said wasn't actually the truth. It was WORSE than the truth.

That is incredibly poor from a PR perspective. Telling WORSE than the truth, thereby feeding a media frenzy, deserves a grade F.

I don't know Ms. Syler-Jones, but I can tell you that, as the PR person present at the press conference and introducing the speakers at the press conference, she has the PR steering wheel and was in control of the car from a PR perspective.

The car wound up in the ditch.

#26 hometown frog

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

They could have 'gotten out in front of the story' without giving off the perception that there were 'major drug rings' involved. I admire them for sending out the campus wide email and holding an open press conference as early as they did. That showed they were involved and supported the arrests. That is perfect and what you need.

The issue i have arises from the fact that you had a Police Chief and a Chancellor making statements directly or indirectly that allowed the media members to use direct or indirect quotes from TCU officials that made this out to be MUCH bigger than it should have been. Had they simply stated that they were involved with a 6 month operation with FWPD that was initiated by TCU and resulted in arrests and removal of individuals from the campus, that would have scoped this at a much lower panic level that McGee's comments did.
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#27 oldscribe

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:10 PM

make sure TCU communicates in a competent, accurate, noninflammatory manner?


It is a watchword in the business world that if all else fails, blame the PR dept.

#28 Vlade Divac

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:30 PM

It is a watchword in the business world that if all else fails, blame the PR dept.


Yeah, I've heard that too, but PR departments exist for situations like this.

The PR department should be looking for someone else to blame.

#29 KillerFrog InD KitchenSink

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:40 PM

I think hindsight is 20/20 and the powers that be will look at it in the after analysis and find things that could have been handled differently. But the reality is that with four football players at a major program being among those arrested for dealing drugs, this was going to be a big deal and a black mark no matter how it was handled. The idea that people should lose their job over this is absolutely ludicrous.

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#30 HToady

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:41 PM

What's with those hyphenated names today?

Is that a women's rights thing?

#31 froginmn

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:46 PM

I can't wait to see what happens when a few of them get off on a technicality or are found innocent.

You don't need to be convicted criminally to violate the code of conduct, and the student handbook talks about penalties "in addition to sanctions imposed by the University".

As to the OP, what is in the playbook for "keep the media from overblowing the story"?

I wouldn't want that in my job description, no matter the salary...

This whole blame the administration thing (considering the praise and POSITIVE PR they have received) has really turned me off from kf.c.

I'll prolly go dark for a while and be more productive at work, rather than listen to this rubbish.

#32 froginaustin

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

What's with those hyphenated names today?

Is that a women's rights thing?


In the Victorian (and earlier) English social world, a hyphenated last name was one way a person could claim to be, or claim an ancestor that was, descended from the aristocracy but with the noble ancestry arising from the wrong side of the sheets.

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#33 JurisFrog

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

froginmn,

TCU made a big splash with the press conference, leading to a big media circus. Then our speakers overexagerrated the facts, causing even more of a media circus.

We should have been talking to the media about how this was a NOT a drug ring, that only two or three students were involved with anything other than marijuana, that some of the students were not even enrolled at TCU, that the majority of the transactions took place off campus, and that the total amount of marijuana sold was less than one pound.

I know that the media may have sensationalized it anyway, but then we'd be having a different conversation. Instead, TCU has to look inwardly as to why they allowed such a PR disaster to occur.

Now, I know that hindsight is 20/20 and that TCU may not have known all those facts at the time, but if you don't know the facts, don't hold a press conference. And if you do hold a press conference, keep things calm and played down, don't escalate them.

Our speakers oversold this thing so much that the media had no choice but to go big with the story.

Finally, oldscribe, I love your posts and the years of wisdom that you bring to this board, and I agree with your sentiment generally, but I am blaming the PR side because the PR side of this is the problem.




#34 The Uniballer

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

There's a big difference in pointing out how professionals performed their jobs poorly and "blaming" them.

#35 froginmn

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:07 PM

We should have been talking to the media about how this was a NOT a drug ring, that only two or three students were involved with anything other than marijuana, that some of the students were not even enrolled at TCU, that the majority of the transactions took place off campus, and that the total amount of marijuana sold was less than one pound.

I'm sorry but if this story had come out of the University of Kentucky, for instance, and I heard directly or indirectly from the media that the University had said that, I would think that they were being defensive and covering it up.

UK would have lost the PR battle far worse in that situation.

Just my opinion.

#36 pcf

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 05:08 PM

froginmn,

TCU made a big splash with the press conference, leading to a big media circus. Then our speakers overexagerrated the facts, causing even more of a media circus.

We should have been talking to the media about how this was a NOT a drug ring, that only two or three students were involved with anything other than marijuana, that some of the students were not even enrolled at TCU, that the majority of the transactions took place off campus, and that the total amount of marijuana sold was less than one pound.

I know that the media may have sensationalized it anyway, but then we'd be having a different conversation. Instead, TCU has to look inwardly as to why they allowed such a PR disaster to occur.

Now, I know that hindsight is 20/20 and that TCU may not have known all those facts at the time, but if you don't know the facts, don't hold a press conference. And if you do hold a press conference, keep things calm and played down, don't escalate them.

Our speakers oversold this thing so much that the media had no choice but to go big with the story.


This is true and I agree with it, but it also shows that these folks were out of their element. I mean that in a good way. If you deal with that sort of stuff all the time, you have the necessary experience. The PC I saw was a weird, nervous, cliffhanger void of real information for the most part that seemed to pump up the sensational aspect.

No wonder the press ran with it.

#37 TCUSA

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

college kids everywhere get busted for wheelin and dealin, but you don't always hear about it. this story made front page and national news.


The story didn't make front page and national news. TCU made it front page and national news. And that's the problem.

#38 Vlade Divac

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:11 PM

The story didn't make front page and national news. TCU made it front page and national news. And that's the problem.


Ding ding ding. But I'm sure glad they hung a big TCU flag in the background.

Case in point: They were flying the flag. It was an intentional move, or one of complete ignorance. Either way, it's really pathetic.

#39 dadinchucks

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 01:47 PM

This topic particularly interests me as I work in PR for a Fortune 10 company based here in Dallas-Fort Worth. You do the math which one that would be.

She is the vice chancellor for marketing and communication. Keeping TCU from embarassing itself publicly is her JOB. She spoke briefly at the press conference, she was obviously in the loop.

Why would she allow this to happen?

Her job isn't to stop drug dealers from slinging weed on campus. Her job is to control the story to the best of her ability if and when it does happen. It did happen, and for maximum control she pushed for TCU to take the lead in owning the story before someone else did. That might seem odd, like telling someone you have problems when they might never find out, but this was going to inevitably get out; 17 arrests don't just not catch wind.

Did she tell the chancellor this would be a media firestorm and an embarrassment to the university on a national scale?

Yes. And she also surely told him that trying to cover it up would be an even bigger embarrassment. See: Penn State.

Did she take the time to make sure Boschini was perfectly prepared for his statement? (he looked very out of the loop at times)

By the sounds of it he had a few hours to prep at max. He did a good job all things considered.

Did she take the time to review Chief McGee's moronic, overblown statement?

Surely yes.

Did she make sure the statements were reviewed by lawyers?

Bad question. Multiple lawyers probably combed everything that was said. This is a billion dollar business they are running.

Did she work to make sure the media knew that less than a pound of pot was being sold?

Selling is selling. Quantity never seemed to be an issue.

Did she work to keep the media from overblowing the story? (they did)

That's what the media does. :-)

Did she work to make sure that TCU did not exaggerate the story? (we did)

And our story was "we're stopping this before it gets worse". That is a good story. Again, see: Penn State.

This is an embarassment of the highest order, and I think she also has some responsibility.

That's just your two cents.


Moral of the story here is that TCU did what TCU had to do - they took the punch in the face and said "we screwed up, we're taking the punishment and moving on." They didn't let the Fort Worth Police control the story, they did. Win for TCU in a day that should have been a major loss.
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#40 MiddleAgedFrog

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 02:02 PM

This topic particularly interests me as I work in PR for a Fortune 10 company based here in Dallas-Fort Worth. You do the math which one that would be.


This was a fantastic post. Thanks for your reason.


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