KK: Your job probably was very complicated when you started. I suspect it might be even more complicated now. How has public relations changed in the new age of social media and the advancement of communication tools?
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 12 – December 2018
LG: There has, as you know, been a sea change in how you relate to the press, and social media has made it possible for organizations to become the source of news. If we can be nimble and fast enough to get out there with the story, we can be the source of news. Mike, one of my colleagues in my office, has been a TV reporter. He’s used to packaging video stories, and now ACEP has that added capability. Twenty years ago, reporters had longer deadlines. You might have until the end of the day. Today, everybody’s on deadline within a couple of hours, and if you can’t respond within a couple of hours, you won’t be included in the story.
I’m proud that ACEP has evolved into a nimble organization. Our spokespeople understand that; they are responsive. I think ACEP is probably one of the more nimble organizations out there, especially in medical specialty organizations.
KK: What were some of the PR successes the College has had?
LG: Going back many years, one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever had was after September 11, when the organization decided to move ahead and still hold the scientific assembly in Chicago. In PR, sometimes you really have to be positioned properly for breaking news situations, and of course, the whole country was focused on anthrax and on September 11. Fortuitously, Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study about anthrax, which we ended up parlaying into letting all the press know that we had disaster preparedness and anthrax experts at the meeting. Kevin, the press descended upon our convention.
Michael Carius was president, and Kristi Koenig was there. Bless her heart; she did interview after interview. We had 10 cameras lined up outside our press office. We were on “Good Day Chicago,” and ABC’s “20/20” came to interview Mike Carius. It was one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever had as a PR person.
Although not as dramatic as September 11, covering ebola was incredible in the sense that the press showed up and we were doing live interviews from Fox Business News right on the convention floor. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking advantage of breaking news situations.