‘Speaking from his Atlanta Hotel Mr Breed said…’ – The Press Officer’s Guide Lesson 10 – Make sure the boss isn’t in bed!

When giving out telephone numbers it is important to check the time difference...

One of the problems with politics is ‘events dear boy.’ They happen to everybody and need to be dealt with successfully.

Political life winds down in August, whilst MPs, staff and constituents find the time to spend two weeks away and have a rest from busy lives.

In South East Cornwall Colin Breed and the local Lib Dems had been campaigning hard for an upgrade to the old Liskeard primary school and as such when the news came through, whilst Colin was on holiday, it was important that we reacted to the story quickly. 

As such I immediately drafted a press release and sent it out. Colin is a very relaxed employer and is happy for press releases to be published from people he trusts and so I sent it out.

At the time, 1996, Colin was away at the Atlanta Olympics, as he, and his family are keen followers of Olympic sport and have been to many of the summer games.

As such a number of calls came through for Colin including the local radio stations.  Because I wanted to people to know that he wasn’t around I had in fact used the phrase ‘speaking from his Atlanta hotel, Colin Breed said….’ as part of the press release.  However, because of the importance of the story they were very keen to get an interview over the phone, from Atlanta. 

So, after some shuffling of papers I gave out the number to the relevant journalists.

About thirty minutes later Colin called to thank me for the interviews that he had done, but subtly pointed out that in future, whilst in America, could we restrict interviews to waking hours as he had been woken at 4am to conduct the interviews and wasn’t too sure they were any good because he simply couldn’t remember a word he had said!

I agreed.

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