DIARY: The BBC are fighting journalistic fire with fire

When journalist turns PR man and starts teaching BBC press officers how to handle difficult questions from the media, it becomes rather difficult to work out just who is on which side of the PR/journo divide.

When journalist turns PR man and starts teaching BBC press officers how

to handle difficult questions from the media, it becomes rather

difficult to work out just who is on which side of the PR/journo divide.



Now I hear that the BBC has hired Burson-Marsteller’s tabloid-hack

turned-media-adviser, Steve Ellis to take some of its staff, including

press officers, through the media mire and toughen them up for the

front line.



So, let me get this right, Steve...the BBC, employer of the likes of

Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries, is paying a PR company to train its

press officers on how to handle aggressive questioning from the likes

of, well, Jeremy Paxman and John Humphries?



‘It’s a question of objectivity,’ says Steve. ‘They wanted someone like

a tabloid hack and there aren’t many of them kicking around Broadcasting

House.’



This may well be true, but don’t you recall the one about Roger Hayes,

director general of the British Nuclear Industry Forum who emerged

unscathed from a grilling by Today presenter Peter Hobday? His secret? A

session on how to be interviewed given by Peter Hobday.



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