Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A "Total Freakshow"

ABC News contacted me at UW Health this morning to find if we have any experts on the drug, propofol, involved in the latest twist about Michael Jackson's death. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has respected pharmacy researchers who may offer some insight on the drug, NOT a reaction to the allegation that MJ was desparately seeking the drug just days before his death. When I put out an alert to all the appropriate contacts, one very ethical and well-known researcher said he refused to be part of a "total freakshow," by putting himself out there in any way as an expert. Interesting point. I respect him for his decision. But I'm wondering where the PR and marketing line should be drawn on this one. There is a middle ground. We could answer questions related only to the drug, its use and any research we may have done on it, and refuse to comment directly on MJ. The "reach and frequency" model applies here--get our name out there consistently to as many people as possible. Could we turn it around and make it very helpful and insightful information that might enlighten news consumers? Or is this ghoulish and opportunistic? I always think the latter.

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