Let’s see. Where were we when I had to vacate my seat yesterday here at my digital media conglomerate to attend an early morning meeting of the Akron chapter of the Public Relations Society of Ameria? Ah, we were talking about Tiger Woods. Isn’t everybody? And I opined — counter to most of the standard PR crisis management advice given by the PR experts — that Tiger should just keep quiet. And having him bare his soul in public or online wasn’t going to make the story better — or go away.
He didn’t — and it hasn’t. Woot.
My take on Tiger, family and friends. It’s essentially a private matter — although I recognize the public interest. So be it.
Yet I wonder how much the public fixation — and the related news media coverage — with stories about Woods, the celebrity wannabes at the White House dinner and so on detract from thoughtful and important discussions of important issues? I know this is an old complaint without any resolution. But being a quasi-retired pajama-clad citizen journalist with time on my hands and the ability to type (if not always think), I figured I’d pursue the idea for my own satisfaction, if not the public good.
So I asked some of the PR folks attending the meeting yesterday what they thought about the White House Jobs Forum that was being held later in the day. Not much interest, actually. Most conversations quickly reverted to a — “But Rob, don’t you think that Tiger did the right thing by coming clean, spilling his guts? ” Ah, sure.
This means little, of course. Except I believe that as a nation we should be paying more attention to some really important issues — with jobs and the economy topping the list. And full disclosure: I’m doing some work with an organization in DC, Corporate Voices for Working Families, that was invited by the White House to participate in the jobs forum. So I have an interest in this both professionally — and personally.
I believe the story about jobs — and those one in 10 Americans who are currently unemployed — is much more important than what’s happening with Mr. and Mrs. Tiger.
And realistically, I don’t expect that what took place at the jobs forum in DC yesterday will have any immediate effect on jobs or the economy. (See the NYT editorial.) Was it a PR stunt as some suggest? Yeah. There was some of that about this gathering and I expect most White House summits. But at least Obama and team are reaching out to leaders throughout the public and private sectors — and to the general public — to focus attention on the one issue that we all should be concerned about.
Now. If the Tiger story would just move off the front page — and create some space for jobs and economic growth.