By Stanley S. Zeitlin, WestGlen Communications
“Mike Wallace is here.” It’s been said that those are the four scariest words a business executive could hear.
Happened to me. Eighteen years ago.
Mike and a rather large “60 Minutes” crew arrived to interview me about our involvement in getting our clients’ films seen in schools throughout the country. From the dealings we had with assistant producers in his office we knew fairly well what they were after. At first WestGlen declined to participate, instead recommending they speak with competitors around the country. Finally, after realizing we were the only sponsored film distributor in Manhattan, and not wanting a crew following me down the hall back from the men’s room, I agreed to do it.
Knowing Mike Wallace is coming to interview you is a truly terrifying experience. While my friends, wife and children were proud of me appearing on network TV, my mother-in-law asked with her usual skepticism, “What did he do?”
Our terrific team media-trained me for two days, and during the 45-minute interview I was able to deflect the probing questions with deft parries….with one exception. A client specifically asked that I not speak on their behalf and instead refer Wallace to their PR agency, which I did. And of course, that was the one and only soundbite they used.
At the time there was little I could do about it. But fast forward 18 years later, and the state of media has certainly changed dramatically. Today, with Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media tools, there would have been more opportunity for me to say what got left on the editing room floor. The need for blended media tactics has always been apparent, even back then. Only today, anyone’s voice and opinion can be broadcast throughout the blogosphere.
Stanley S. Zeitlin is president of WestGlen Communications, Inc.