You Can Still Own the Story

A few weeks ago, a couple gave birth to sextuplets in a Vancouver hospital. The media, as you might expect, sped off to the hospital in their satellite vans and junky sub-compacts to get the first footage of the babies, the first interview with the new (and busy) parents.
They got nothing.

No interviews, no photos and a bare minimum of facts from the BC Women’s Hospital spokesperson. It was hilarious to watch the CBC or CTV evening news, as they tried desperately to pad out the story. There were reviews of fertility treatments, discussions of the odds of such a birth, and analyses of the couple’s religion (apparently they’re Jehovah’s Witness).

It goes to show that the average person can still control a story if they hold all the cards. The couple wanted their privacy and they, more or less, received it. I’m pleased to see that none of Vancouver’s media has tried (or at least succeeded) in playing paparazzi with the new babies. In cases like this, I think the message from the hospital should be ‘no comment’ to every question.

Sadly, there are now reports that one of the newborns has died. That’s tragic. It’s made a little more so because we know about it when the parents obviously want complete privacy.

Tags: media+relations, pr, spin, journalism

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