Can I Get Some "Good News" Please?!

By: Scott Saxton
By: Scott Saxton

We all know WVU needs some "positive press" this week, but even when the school tried it didn't go quite as planned.

I'm a journalist. 

I'm not a public relations person. 

In fact, we journalism folks like to call p-r "the dark side."  It is a term of endearment.  I have many close friends (and a wife) in public relations and they often ask me if I am ready to turn over to the dark side.  For the record -- no.

So, I don't know how that world works.  But after so many years in journalism I do know a few of the p-r axioms.

The big one is to "always release bad news on a Friday around 5pm."  The thought is simple -- it's too late to get reaction from the officials on the announcement and fewer people are paying attention because their weekend is underway.  It basically helps you dilute the bad news.

That brings us to West Virginia University.  We all know this is one institution that needs some "good publicity" after the whole faux-degree issue for the governor's daughter and some alumni calling for the president's resignation.

So from what I've gathered WVU was looking for some good pub to end the week.  Go out on a high note.  That's the only reason I can see why the school hastily gathered a media conference for 4pm Friday to announce that basketball coach Bob Huggins signed an 11 year contract.

The problem is they released it so haphazardly that not everyone was notified.  (Keep in mind, this is a school with a p-r arm that pumps out 20 plus press releases daily without fail.)  And remember the axiom about releasing bad news only on late Friday afternoons. 

Oh well.  Can't win for trying.

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