That’s Sawmill Partner Susan Anthony, left, speaking with WMAR-TV Reporter Roosevelt Leftwich yesterday for a story on their evening newscast about Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon. For our national and international readers, the Baltimore mayor was found guilty this week of stealing gift cards that were meant to be distributed to needy children. A crisis PR situation if there ever was one!
The defense team kept Dixon off the witness stand during the trial, and since the jury’s verdict was announced on Wednesday we haven’t heard much from her, other than a few comments outside the courtroom and a brief “press conference” yesterday afternoon when she read a simple statement and took no questions from the media – nothing more than a move designed to deliver a soundbite for the evening news and the next news cycle.
Channel 2 contacted Sawmill Marketing Public Relations for insights into Dixon’s PR strategy and crisis communications efforts to date. Susan told Roosevelt that the Mayor needs to deliver the whole package (words, tone of voice, facial expressions, posture, et al) consistently and repeatedly before the citizens of Baltimore can begin to re-establish trust in her. She emphasized that the longer the Mayor goes without doing so, the deeper the hole she has likely dug for herself.
As if on cue, the Mayor was holding her “press conference” as Susan drove back to the office from Channel 2. She and Sawmill partner Jeff Davis commented that they could hear the nervousness in her voice as she read from the prepared statement that they agreed was an empty one.