JetBlue has had its share of advocates and defenders in the aftermath of its Valentine’s Day Massacre. And one can argue all day long as to whether the airline did or didn’t do things well, or will or won’t survive.
But one thing’s not up for argument in my book: JetBlue Director of Communications Jenny Dervin has some pretty unhelpful ideas about who to be blaming right now. Here’s a choice quote from Ms. Dervin from a PR Week cover story: "Those (PR) agencies that felt the need to contact our CEO and the corporate communications department directly, telling us exactly what we were doing wrong, were not helpful, and they are all going to go on a special list that I’m going to share with my colleagues in the PR industry, encouraging them never to do business with those companies."
Holy cow! Shades of the Nixon enemies list of the late 1960s and the Hollywood blacklists of the 1950s! Can you believe Ms. Dervin is threatening to hurt the reputations of ANY PR firms that called her, her office or the CEO during the crisis? Aren’t there more pressing matters at hand for her and her company?
Well, Ms. Dervin, I’m pleased to report that we didn’t call you, your department or your CEO. To be sure, we did so some years ago, but didn’t reach out during this crisis. And won’t. Ever.
That said, I do hope that you and JetBlue survive for a very long time. But keep in mind that the PR industry is a relatively small one, where everyone knows everyone else (or almost). Experience shows that people who go out of their way to hurt other people don’t do well in our business (or most others).
So hang onto your job, Ms. Dervin. Else you may find out that others compile their own lists: Executive search recruiters, senior communications executives and heads of agencies all keep lists in their heads of senior staff prospects — good and bad. And while I believe those lists aren’t as mean-spirited as the one being tallied by someone who wants to blacklist PR professionals, it’s a marketplace reality that what goes around can come around.