Hey You Kids, Get Out of My Airport

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.”

Class dismissed.

6 Responses to Hey You Kids, Get Out of My Airport

  1. Mr Myers, a former newsman and tv anchor, should have known instinctively how his actions were going to play.

    • Yes, of all people, he should know better. I think rule of thumb in a stressful situation is to ask yourself how you can solve a problem — instead of create one.

      I will say this, though, the man has a great set of pipes.

  2. Doug Myers loves cameras at the airport when he gets to control the story they’re telling. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because evryone has a crummy day now and then, but c’mon man!

  3. What a dork — but I do respect the airport for its “Casual Fridays” dress policy. Anybody organization that does that can’t be all bad.

  4. Kind of reminds me of Smykowski from ‘Office Space’ – - “Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?”

    • I love that…

      BTW, not to play Monday morning airport CEO or anything, but if your spokesman is going to freak out over something so insignificant as a couple of uninvited visitors, how will he deal with a legitimate crisis?

      Just askin.

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