Sometimes it is better to be silent - Dooley PR

Today’s Winnipeg Free Press carried an interesting piece on the ownership battle at Gluttons, one of our city’s more feted restaurants. Piecing together the story from court documents, the reporter retold the story of co-owners fighting each other for control of a successful small business.


I won’t rehash the dispute here, because what interested me was that all the parties wisely stayed away from the story. The reporter attempted to interview several of the key players, but none was available for comment.


The reporter managed to cite only the former chef, Makoto Ono, and “he couldn’t shed any light on the management dispute.” I think it’s more likely that Ono “wouldn’t”, because he “shouldn’t.”


When I give media training sessions – for small business owners, executives or whoever – I always counsel that they are not obliged to give interviews at all. Just because a reporter calls, doesn’t mean you need to get into a tell-all discussion on the inner workings and personal conflicts at work in your business.  


It’s fine and good to foster a positive, collaborative relationship with the media, but when you give an interview, it’s like inviting a reporter to your home for a visit. You will tidy up the place and maybe you will break out the nice china, but you’re not likely going to show them the laundry room or the broom closet (even if they ask to see those places).


The media has a right to write a great many things. In this case, if the players keep quiet, the story (a short-term pain, no doubt) will likely just go away.

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