3 July, 2023

The quandary of whether to prepare a judgment statement or not

Anyone who works in legal PR will be able to tell you the importance of successful judgments for their clients. Such opportunities for positive PR and bountiful coverage do not come along every day, so it is crucial to maximise publicity and get the message out. Historically legal PRs tended to be told the result of the embargoed judgment which allowed them to prepare a press release or statement ready to be sent out the moment the judgment was handed down.

31 May, 2023
I must not tell lies

Lies that matter and lies that don’t

“There are lies that matter and lies that don’t” said Boris Johnson’s former communications adviser Guto Harri on The Newsagents podcast last week when defending his role working for Johnson as further lockdown breaches emerge. Meanwhile Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s aides were found to have repeatedly denied that she had been caught speeding, when asked by Mirror journalists last month, claiming it was “nonsense” and suggested someone was spreading “scurrilous” rumours about her. She has since admitted speeding.

11 April, 2023
Suella Braverman

Media relations: Take the rough with the smooth

Inspiration for our latest blog this month comes from Simon English, financial editor at the Evening Standard writing for Roxhill. His recent article, A doomed PR tactic, reminded me how, despite the myriad of so-called communications specialists in government, they often get it so spectacularly wrong. English wrote about Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s visit to Rwanda, accompanied by “friendly” journalists only. The chosen few were: The Times, Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph and GB News. Clearly this was an attempt to punish those outlets not in support of the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, and to secure only positive coverage. But, as English pointed out, social media was out in force to hold the government to account.

20 March, 2023
football pitch

Lineker tweet-gate: BBC is naïve if they think it’s all over

A week really is a long time in politics. Just ask Gary Lineker. The ex-England footballer and long-time presenter of BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ found himself temporarily ousted this month after the broadcaster ruled that a tweet about the government’s new controversial migration policy was in breach of its impartiality guidelines. In just over 200 characters, the former face of Walkers crisps sparked an extraordinary, seven-day standoff with the BBC after comparing the language used to describe the policy with that of 1930s Germany. Quite accurately as it turned out.

31 January, 2023
word truth on typewriter

My truth, your truth, the truth

It began with Megxit. In 2021 the world watched as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, told all to Oprah Winfrey in what has become an infamous interview. They mooted that they wanted to tell their side of the story, they wanted to tell their truth. A strange expression, ‘my truth’ or ‘your truth’. As children we are taught to tell ‘the truth’. The idea that there can be variations or interpretations on an event, conversation or other is not new. However, adopting it as ‘your truth’ is. Most of us would acknowledge that in the retelling of a story or event, recollections are often skewed in favour of the storyteller. Sometimes this is done consciously and sometime unconsciously, as we naturally view events through our own lens.

14 December, 2022
Newspaper home pages

4 tips for law firms to gain media coverage

What makes a good news story? Good question. And one that has become increasingly difficult to answer in recent years. Major events such as Brexit, the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis have dominated the headlines, leaving little room for anything else. The political circus could, at times, have filled a rolling news channel by itself. All these have changed the mainstream news landscape immeasurably, legal media to a lesser extent, but the bar for both remains high. With more than 25 years’ experience working in legal PR and with the media, theses are my top tips for achieving coverage.

6 December, 2022

Twitter – should we all be sticking to the day job?

In a recent interview with The Times, Stephen Watson, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police called for the police to get off Twitter and get on with the job they are paid to do, saying he wanted officers to avoid online “fluff and nonsense” and get on with catching criminals and answering 999 calls. Watson’s back to basics approach certainly appears to be working – he has pulled the force out of special measures in less than two years, reduced the time taken to answer 999 calls and seen a rise in the number of suspects charged.

11 November, 2022
Matt Hancock I'm A Celebrity

Hancock’s I’m a Celebrity stint: a cruel and callous PR disaster

Circus owner Phineas T Barnum is credited as saying the immortal phrase ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, but he didn’t consider the car crash that is Matt Hancock appearing on I’m a Celebrity. To be fair to Phineas he was speaking in the 19th century and nobody could have ever predicted a reality TV show appearance that was so misjudged and ill thought out. Whilst watching Matt ‘Westminster’s very own Alan Partridge’ Hancock eat the nether regions of a marsupial may on the surface be amusing for most, there is a serious side that makes his appearance not just a PR disaster, but unbelievably cruel.

27 October, 2022
Open for business sign

Press offices must be open for business

Legal journalist Catherine Baksi (@legalhackette) raised a few eyebrows this week with her tweet about a law firm press office. It read: Absurd that @lathamwatkins will not give me, a journalist, the email address of the person at the firm who deals with enquiries from the press. I point out the absurdity and am told that they can't give the address to me because it would breach privacy! Aside from hoping a law firm would have a basic understanding of privacy law, it highlights a not uncommon problem amongst law firms which seems to have got worse since the pandemic.
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