Saturday, December 17, 2005

The World's Worst PR Person

This award has to go to the media communications woman employed by the Canterbury Police ... Maggie Leask.

On Wednesday night police are alerted to an assault on a young woman in Christchurch's inner city. Eyewitnesses from Chester Street say she was run over 4-5 times by a car, had her slammed against a wall, was then bundled into a car and driven away. All the while she's screaming for help.

The next day her semi-clothed and bound body is found partially submerged in Christchurch's Avon River. It's the city's 10th homicide this year, and as events have subsequently revealed, this woman is the second sex worker to have been murdered in the same period.

As you can imagine it's a big story (see here, here, here, and here.) which has had local reporters flat out for the past few days. Would you believe that on Friday, the day when Police were hot on the trail of the killer, a day when reporters were desperate for details, Maggie Leask was taking a day off.

She was in Wellington shopping.

It resulted in their being no official updates to media for a 24 hour period between 5pm Thursday and 5pm Friday. Obviously the inquiry head was flat out and couldn't respond to every media call. They certainly wouldn't expect him to. But given the criticism police made of the accuracy of some of the media coverage, particularly comments made by a streetworker in the Press on Friday, the onus is on them to provide some sort of communication. At the very least it can help avoid some of the issues they were so worried about.

Their communications person certainly should have been there to cover that avenue ... not swanning off in Wellington doing her Christmas shopping.

As an aside I understand Maggie Leask was recently made a life member of the PR body, PRINZ, for her lengthy services to Canterbury Police and its communications with the public and the media.

Next time you run into a Canterbury based reporter ask them what they think of Maggie Leask's communication skills. I guarantee they won't rate her highly (if at all).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She took a day off. Bitch. How dare she?

Polar Bob