ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Speedy PR played a key role in managing the recent
media circus surrounding Matthew Propp, the 22-year-old man whose
adoptive parents face kidnapping charges for absconding with him in 1980
after a judge ordered that he be returned to his biological parents.
At 3pm Friday, March 9, Tom Garrity of The Garrity Group received a call
from Propp's attorney asking for help responding to media inquiries
surrounding the case. Propp, whose adoptive father had turned himself in
to legal authorities late Thursday, was unhappy with coverage in the New
York tabloids painting his parents - New York natives - as monsters.
Propp needed help communicating the message that he fully supported his
adoptive parents, despite being unable to comment on the legalities of
Garrity's six employees were pulled off other projects and sent into
action. Within a couple of hours, once key messages were drafted and
logistics worked out, the team staged an impromptu news conference in
the Propps' front yard, where many reporters had already begun to
On Saturday, Garrity and Propp met one-on-one with reporters from print
media, including the New York Daily News, New York Post and Newsday.
'Matt felt that the reporters hadn't been getting the full story, so he
emphasized that the Propps were the ones to turn themselves in and that
he had enjoyed a good and normal childhood,' said Garrity. He added that
the resulting Sunday print coverage 'set the tone' for interviews of
Propp by all the New York morning TV news programs on Monday.
Following appearances on ABC, NBC and CBS, the team gave a statement at
the Queens courthouse where Propp's father had just been released on
bail, and upon returning to Albuquerque Tuesday, addressed local media
in a similar fashion.
'After that, we went dark on all media access to the family. Journalists
are now being told that we are focusing on the merits of the legal case
and that we will have no further comment until after a hearing in late
April,' said Garrity.
Evidence suggests Garrity's efforts were successful. More than 130
national and international stories that broke following the first press
conference carried the team's key messages. In addition, two of
Albuquerque's main local TV newscasts ran online polls indicating that
public opinion had swung in the Propps' favor.