Gail Sideman Publicity


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Public relations in the most unexpected places … After further review …


The week of Thanksgiving is a funky one. Many of us are still at work, yet there’s a different vibe, as people seem to cram in tasks that they might not do Thursday or Friday. Oh, and email boxes are already filled with Black Friday deals or teases. Whether you travel to share the holiday with family or friends, work or stay home, I wish you peace at the table (sports and politics are bound to come up … nod your head and change the subject to puppies), be grateful for the little things and as my friend Marty Schreiber says, be open to moments of joy in the most unexpected places.

After further review …

  • Mental health takes a seat at the table– It’s not just good for public relations – it’s good for people’s health. Props to the Carolina Panthers, other professional and college sports programs and businesses, including the University of Texas, thanks to a $20 million gift, that have hired mental health specialists to assist athletes and staff with their stresses, concerns and general well-being. About 15 years ago I worked with a psychologist (rest in peace, Betsy) and one of the stories we successfully pitched was about people who don’t seek help for mental illness because of the stigma. We haven’t budged far from that blemish, but I feel like in the last two years, we’ve begun to talk more openly about it as a disease and not a plague or contaminate. Several organizations, including Mental Health America find that nearly 45 percent of the American population suffers from some kind of mental illness or anxiety disorder, yet only approximately 1 in 5 seek help. My hope is that organizations like the Panthers’ and Longhorns’ jump-start programs, and more Americans access care and not be ashamed about it.


  • A ticket to see nothing– When a sports organization charges money to just be in the building, you must have a pretty attractive product. The Golden State Warriors, winner of three of the last four NBA titles, has a new ticket deal. Fans can buy a “building pass” that allows ticket-holders to be in their home arena but not actually see players live as they run and shoot. You can watch the Warriors on TV like the rest of humanity, buy beverages and some nachos from inside the proverbial four walls, but you’ll probably be bounced and your ticket confiscated if you try to get into the bowl. To be fair, it looks like pass-holders will be eligible for seat upgrades, but when you can cash in on people’s FOMO, you must truly be a must-be (there) event.


  • Politics have a PR problem– I know – duh. The recent mid-term elections revealed an ongoing image problem for politics in this country. Not only do we live in the most anxious and publicly divisive time in decades, but when it comes to being able to cast a vote for representatives we think have our best interests at heart, America makes it ridiculously difficult. There are proven cases of voter suppression which itself is unconscionable, but when machines break down, ballots are difficult to read, the means to vote throughout the country isn’t consistent and citizens have to wait hours in line to vote, there’s need to fix a severely flawed system. As Americans we’re blessed to have the freedom to speak our minds and express who we want to speak for us about national issues. It’s long overdue that a process this important, that is supposed to be accessible for all, be simple and nearly flawless. There’s a lot of work to do.


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