Have a high-profile executive who called me very early this morning in a panic. A friend of a friend, I had seen the full page story that a local tabloid newspaper ran about him, and understood instantly why he was calling.

He explained “The story isn’t true as I explained to the reporter.  He called me, we spoke for a while he didn’t tell me he was running a story… and then I went back to work.”  Well, low and behold, today for him isn’t a regular work day as the story ran.

I know the reporter who wrote the story, and called him.  He’s a fair person, and explained that he had a source who spoke on the record and when the executive responded it made a good news story, “He said, she said.”

Reporters aren’t the arbiters of truth – and if someone says something interesting it could be newsworthy, whether true or not.  A reporter’s job is to report news – and they don’t give lie detector tests.

Media is also more likely to trust my truth than your truth – because as CEO of 5WPR I deal with media daily and we have a relationship. In this case, the CEO had ample evidence to show his side of the story – and that the accusation made wasn’t true.  He didn’t want to provide it to the reporter.  When I shared the proof with the reporter he instantly told me if I would have showed it he wouldn’t have run the story as his source wouldn’t have been credible.

He now will not be running the planned follow-up story – and of course our entire conversation was off the record.

The damage is done, and clearly this executive has learned the lesson of not speaking to the media without a PR pro managing it, but it never ceases to amaze me why high-powered people don’t let PR people do their jobs.

Ronn Torossian



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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.


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