Ronn Torossian—Founder, President, and CEO of 5W Public Relations—spoke out yesterday on always being “on the record” when it comes to media. With that pressure of always being “recordable” and never being able to have a second take, or even the ability to deny a misstatement, comes the necessity of always saying and doing the right thing at the right time. According to Torossian, in the age of YouTube and Twitter, there are no second chances.
New York City-based 5W Public Relations, headed by Torossian himself, has managed or advised media relationships for many of the world’s top businesses, including Fortune 500, Inc. 500, and Forbes 400 members. 5W PR’s vast experience with a variety of companies has given Torossian unique insight into the world of the media, making him a true authority on the subject. Torossian stated yesterday in his 5W Public Relations CEO Blog that nearly every media conference and training session he attends discusses the importance of reminding both your staff and your clients that everything they say and do is on the record. Public speeches and discussions are recorded, as well as statements made to any individual or group of individuals. If you can Google it, someone will Google it. Once it has been said, there is no director yelling “Cut!” and there are no multiple takes to get it just right. Once it has been uttered, it is out there in the media universe, just waiting to be searched, and its utterance can never be denied. Transcripts will be repeated on blogs and in trade outlets. Videos will be posted on YouTube. Photos will appear in gossip magazines. Mistakes will be flaunted, so in this world it is better to not err at all.
Torossian recalls in his blog a recent dinner with close friend who was recently elected to the Israeli Knesset (the Israeli Parliament). This friend admitted that no matter whom he may be speaking to on the phone, and whether the call is personal or private, he always assumes the call is being recorded, and refuses to saying anything controversial or to make any decision at all over the phone for such reason.
Though we all may not have to worry about our political appearance and accidentally agreeing to changes in a country’s government due to tapped phone calls, Torossian points out that people are being laid off left and right—especially in the media industry. Accidentally leaking major stories or saying something controversial that looks bad for the company cannot be good for your job security. Torossian suggests familiarizing yourself and your clients with the Twittergate Affair to be reminded of exactly how quickly and how far information can spread in this digital age.
Torossian also poses the question of whether sharing information with the masses before it is confirmed or supported will ever be considered a crime. Newspapers and reporters can get into serious trouble for reporting unsupported facts, but at this point in time Twitterers can tweet what they want, when they want. Many people no longer even bother with traditional news any more—gossip blogs, Twitter accounts, and text messages tend to relay the same information on a much faster basis. When Al Roker was caught Twittering and posting pictures during jury duty, the whole world saw and offered their opinion. Certainly this was more interesting to the masses because of Al Roker’s celebrity status, but it still demonstrates the idea that any information, as small as it may seem, can become a big deal in a very short amount of time.
At the end of his blog post, Torossian leaves us with the final words:
“The world is changing by the minute (and please feel free to record that).”