Funeral services for Tim Russert are today, and as we’ve heard during the tributes since his death on Friday, his “down to earth” I’m-from-South-Buffalo persona is one reason he was trusted and beloved by so many people across America. I’m sure someone having an especially tough time right now is the long-time executive producer of Meet the Press, Betsy Fisher.
I sat with Betsy during lunch at the National Press Club a year or so ago, and from that experience can tell you she is just as friendly, down-to-earth and open as her boss was.
Betsy said she receives around 500 to 600 emails each day, with the vast majority nothing more than spam from PR people sending the same generic, over-written, non-personalized messages to everyone on their media list – and hoping something sticks.
BTW, Betsy asked me for info about a Sawmill client and we exchanged emails the next day, proving that one can cut through the clutter of those 500 emails if you’re delivering information of value.
WBAL-TV in Baltimore ran an editorial today that said Tim Russert “knew what questions Americans wanted answers to,” and that reminded me of a PR tip Betsy shared with me that day. While getting a seat at the Meet the Press table would be quite a feat, she said that if I ever have a question that I (or a Sawmill client) wanted to ask a guest on the show, email her and she would share it with her boss. During all the tributes to Tim Russert, his ability to ask tough but fair questions – that Americans wanted answers to – came up a lot, and it’s likely that some of those questions came from those of us watching from home.