Gulf Spill Spokesperson: ‘It Was Important to See How Valuable Face-to-Face Interaction Still Is’

What is it like serving as spokesperson for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Incident Command post, the central information hub for everyone involved in the Gulf coast oil spill clean up? As one can imagine, it’s a demanding job.

Brian Sibley of Sibley PR recently spoke about the position with ZDNet, particularly about how he recognized the role of social media in the news cycle, but also had to cater to “traditional” media demands:

I am a proponent of social media and the progression of the practice of PR, but it was important to see how valuable face-to-face interaction still is…There’s so much information that the media – especially the media invested in doing an accurate job – needed someone to help them navigate through this massive amount of detail coming out every day, and still changing rapidly. They couldn’t just push raw data out to the public because it wasn’t useful, but I could sit down with a producer or correspondent and help them filter through it.

Of course, despite all of the hype around social media, when you are involved with a news story of this magnitude, you need to be a communications professional that also understands how traditional media, specifically broadcast, works. Said Sibley:

There’s definitely a news cycle for the broadcast media. They need their information quickly, and by 2 p.m. to feed the 5 p.m. broadcast for the evening news.

This was presented somewhat as new information by ZDNet freelancer Jennifer Leggio, whose audience may be more attuned to social media, but comes as no surprise to many PR professionals used to working with broadcast media.

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