Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Morgan PR blog has a new home now! Check out

After nearly three years on Blogger the Morgan PR Blog has moved to a new bespoke home!

Please visit and discover how the blog is integrated into our new website.

You can also view similar types of post thanks to new categories!

You also no longer need to log into the blog to leave your comments!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ministers spend £30,000 on media training

'Ministers spend £30,000 on media courses' so screamed a headline on the Mail Online yesterday after the remarkably modest spend was revealed via the Freedom on Information Act.

Morgan PR offers media training and while we have yet to help a Minister, our media training services have helped businesses in Newbury, West Berkshire and throughout the Thames Valley to better create and manage their reputations in the media.

We also offer a free download on '15 Top Tips for Surviving the Broadcast Interview' which anyone hoping to get on the televison should download for free and read! By all means forward it to any Ministers you might know!

The Daily Mail's online story is something of a non story in reality - of course Minister need media training when rabid journalists from just such publications are pursuing them! What is more, these courses are - as the story reveals - actually delivered by other journalists.

We use journalists when we deliver our courses, although to be honest it was not my time as a reporter alone that prepared me to deliver the media training services that Morgan PR offers to Newbury businesses, but it was actually the time spent as a press officer for Thames Valley Police that allowed us to truly glimpse the demands that the media can make.

The joke goes that as a journalist I was a poacher and turned gamekeeper when approached by Thames Valley Police, before becoming a sought after poaching and gamekeeping consultant when Morgan PR was launched in 2002.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

“Be Seen, Be Safe” message given to Little Jogs Day Nursery children

Little Jogs Day Nursery in Hungerford held a ‘Safety Day’ on today to help the children stay safe when they are out and about in Hungerford.

PC Claire Drewitt, Hungerford Neighbourhood officer, came along to talk to the children about what the police do and how they help them stay safe. The children all enjoyed hearing about the different roles that the police have and seeing the pictures of police dogs, horses and the helicopter.

PC Drewitt said, “The children were all very attentive to my input today and it’s great to be working to educate them in such a positive way.”

The highlight of the trip was when the children went outside to the police car and were allowed to sit in the driver’s seat, with the lights flashing and siren sounding.

The nursery children have new high visibility safety vests to wear when they are out and about on their frequent trips into Hungerford town. These smart vests have reflective strips and the name and logo of the nursery on the back.

Neale Marney MBE from the West Berkshire Rapid Response Car also popped in to speak to the children and explain about staying safe on the roads, to make sure that they don’t need his services!

Deputy Nursery Manager, Claire Taylor, explained: “It is very important to us that the children understand how to stay safe when they are out and about. We are really grateful to PC Drewitt and Neale Marney for talking to the children today and helping them to understand how important road safety is. The children look great in their new vests and we are looking forward to many trips out in them over the hot summer months”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Disorder in court - Twitter magistrate wrong to resign

Talk about disorder in court - Professor Steve Molyneux, a magistrates of some 16-years-standing, has been forced to resign after he Twittered about life on the bench, in what appears to a rather dramatic and ill considered reaction by an all too remote part of the judiciary to someone embracing new technology.

It seems to be a kneejerk and recoiling reaction much in the vein of the Daily Mail who variously report that Twitter can make you immoral through to Facebook gives you Cancer. Yet constantly magistrates' courts lament the lack of coverage for its work and with the demise of so many district and local newspapers in the current climate it seems that court coverage will diminish ever further. And remember it is important not only that justice is done, but that justice is seen to be done. Twitter could have helped that!

'ProfOnTheprowl' is Prof Molyneux's Twitter name, which does have a slightly sinister undertone, and if you read the fulsome account in the Daily Mail he did make some quite detailed tweets, including one that was prejudicial about considerations for bail, which as a journalist I would never have reported - and I spent countless hours reporting court! But hang on, these were only read by a relatively small audience - which is no doubt set to grow in light of all the publicity and blogging that it taking place. They were being made in the absence of any guidance - and remember magistrates are not legally qualified. Did he make mistakes? Almost certainly - should he have been pilloried in this way? Definitely not!

The clumsy attempt at crisis management (it was never a crisis, but they treated it as one!) might just have worked because so few people are concerned with what happens in Magistrates courts. For all the current furore,it was on the 18th March this year that he twittered about his resignation and only five weeks later it has made it into the real world - and that only after The Shropshire Star reported on it.

How could it better have been handled? Oh so much better!

I am reminded of an occasion as a very young journalist, held back by the onerous requirements of A-levels (yes, that young!) when my school kept finding itself in the headlines - through none of my efforts (any local newspaper should have a myriad of ways to learn what is going on in a school!). However, I found myself hauled before the headteacher and literally accused of telling tales out of school! Youthful indignation meant I would never confirm nor honestly deny and I asked for proof and it only ended when my editor stepped in and took the unique step of saying I had never supplied information on the school. I always felt - and this was without the benefit of the crisis management subsequently learned at Thames Valley Police as a press officer - that a better way to have handled it would have been to embrace my involvement with the newspaper to promote the school!

In this case of Prof Molyneux, would it not have been better to asked him to come up with a policy for allowing Magistrates to use Twitter? Or to simply explore whether it was wise for Magistrates to use new media to discuss their work? When you consider that across the UK the demographic of magistrates is predominantly white and retired, using new media might attract younger people to the bench - how amazing would that be?

After all, it is not as if Magistrates do not blog - check out 'The Magistrate's Blog' which is popular and up to date on 'musings and snippets from an English Magistrate' - although significantly it is anonymous. You have to wonder is anyone else in

I once heard about a case where a judge fell asleep during a trial and it was the media who reported that who were spanked for defamation - but that is another, legally perilous story!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh Canada... in Northumberland! Recovered with great PR?

Oh Canada... in Northumberland? What a magnificent blunder! Alberta in Cananda used a photo of Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland (pictured above) - this is landlocked Alberta (although it does have many nice lakes!). Viral uproar is raging around the net and the story is being comprehensively reported - creating a public relations nightmare.

While closer to home the headlines are harsher and called the Alberta Government to account. So what do you do in such circumstances? Well no comment will not suffice - it rarely does when public relations turns into crisis management. Although that said, Calder Bateman, the Alberta public relations company responsible for the campaign has stayed tight lipped about the blunder - and to be fair, with a Government client left making excuses it was probably the best course of action for them. As their flashy and sparse website says: "Our work speaks for itself. In fact we've already said too much." Quite!

Fortunately the Alberta Government did have an inkling of how to deal with this and turned to its own 'Your Alberta Blog', where it posted a refreshingly honest and apologetic account under PAB (Public Affairs Bureau) screwed up. They say:

The whole world seems a twitter over a screw up by we of the Public Affairs Bureau, Government of Alberta.

In our branding initiative, we put together some very striking images of our beautiful province, and wove them around a narrative that we came to call the Alberta story.

At one point in the narrative we mentioned our regard for people in other places, and in that place we used the only image that did not come from Alberta. Intentionally. We all knew that every single image we put out to represent Alberta had to be of Alberta, or we would be roasted...

Then we screwed up.

We took images from the narrative, and used them as standalone still pictures on our website. And along the line, we grabbed that one, solitary image that was not from Alberta and added our nifty new "Alberta" signature.

We're sorry.

The picture has been removed from the cycle of standalone images, however it still lives in the narrative, as you will see in the above link.

And, Northumberland, you are beautiful, too.

Nice touch on the comment about Northumberland! Although they do still try and claim it was intentional to have a foreign section included, which mitigates the fullness of the admission.

Even dark clouds of negative public relations can have silver linings - traffic to Alberta's websites has naturally gone through the roof and even when you dimiss the Northumberland photo, this is clearly a stunning part of Canada. Of course, it is a brave an Machiavellian person who makes the mistake to achieve this.

A more recent post on the Alberta blog actually talks about the 'One Lonely Ray of Sunshine' being just this increase in traffic.