If I ever get to teach a class on public relations — to stand in front of people and talk about what works and what does not — I will include this rule in my lessons: Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever block a camera with your hand.
That’s what Albany “International” Airport’s Doug Myers did when he confronted a pair of Infowars.com activists leafleting — and shooting video of it — at the airport. His hand job is at 1:48 in.
When I used to sit and watch countless hours of boring raw news footage, nothing made my day like the hand in front of the camera. It’s a golden moment, one that would literally send me to my feet dancing around the room — and when someone did it it was guaranteed to appear in a news promo.
While we’re at it, one other rule: Keep cool, smile, and don’t raise your voice. Myers managed to do none of these things, instead giving the activists exactly what they wanted: an angry authority figure who was losing his sh*t. Nice work.
Oh, a third rule: when things go wrong, don’t try to fix them by lying in your subsequent statement:
“On Nov. 23, we asked two individuals to move away from the escalator area of the terminal where they were distributing fliers. Our concern — as it always is — was for the safety of the passengers and the public who were in the airport.”
Anybody who watched the video knows that this wasn’t about being near the escalator — but to their credit, the airport backed off the absurd “million dollars of insurance” demand made by Myers:
“Filing a simple form and providing advance notice of their arrival are all that is required. We would welcome them back to the airport to distribute their information.”