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Get out!

By Peter Nasca

If you’re aware of pop culture, you know the headline on this column happens to be the title of Jordan Peele’s highly successful recent horror movie. It’s also the battle cry of people who are the subject (or possibly victim) of what is known as an “ambush interview.” 

Several years ago, I dealt with this type of situation when the CBS news show “48 Hours” popped in on one of my client’s locations with a camera rolling and a hot microphone.

The company was, at the time, the largest franchise dry-cleaning outfit in the country. The show was doing a story about customer service—or, actually, bad customer service. They received a complaint from a customer accusing my client of not handling a problem well.

Of course, with the store manager screaming “get out,” it made for great television, but it wasn’t so great for the company’s reputation.  

My immediate reaction was to contact the show’s producer, who turned out to be a fair and open-minded individual. The show wasn’t scheduled to air for several weeks, so I asked if I could have some time to do my due diligence and get to the bottom of the matter. 

I took a deep dive into the situation. It turned out the client had gone out of its way to resolve the issue, and the customer was being quite picky. After assembling all of the appropriate information and a number of calls with the producer, he agreed to drop the story and move on.

 When the show aired, it was a disaster for the companies that were covered. My client dodged a bullet, and I initiated companywide media training sessions, using the tape of the show as part of my curriculum. 

 Media training and crisis management are a must for virtually any company that deals with the public, especially in light of all the workplace harassment issues that have been getting national attention. A “get out” to a reporter is practically an admission of guilt, at least in the eyes of the public. Your first reaction should be “come in,” with a request to discuss the situation with the camera’s off until you get an understanding of what’s going on. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation and you are unprepared, I strongly recommend you engage a public relations professional to help straighten things out. It will be money well spent. 

Peter Nasca is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America and a past president of its Miami chapter. A former journalist, he has been a public relations practitioner in South Florida for nearly four decades.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.