Confessions of a PR Nightmare: PR Execs, Reporters Tell All About Blunders

In PR, it's one of your worst nightmares: the laptop presentation that doesn't work; the slide display that fails at the last moment; the product launch that's more like a product death knell; or the sound system that snaps, crackles and pops. What follows are anecdotes communicators and reporters shared with us and the lessons they learned.

Ann Schmidt, director of communications, California Forest Products Commission, Auburn, Calif.

Broadcast Blunder: About a month ago, Schmidt arranged for a TV crew from KCRA in Sacramento to visit a site in Yreka, Calif., where biologists were tagging spotted owls with transmitters through an industry-sponsored project to track these birds. The crew drove five hours and stayed overnight for the planned rendezvous with biologists the next day. But the eve before the media event, Schmidt recalls listening to the rain and thinking it might interrupt the crew's ability to get a good shot if it lingered.

There was some relief, however, in knowing that she had asked the biologists to get a back-up shot in case things didn't go off without a hitch.

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