In recent sports news, tennis player Naomi Osaka made headlines following her decision to not participate in any of her press commitments for the French Open in an effort to protect her mental health. The backlash from tournament organizers was almost immediate; Osaka was fined $15,000 for her refusal and given an additional warning that she would be suspended from the tournament altogether if she didn’t fulfill her media obligations.
As a result, Osaka voluntarily withdrew from the tournament and published an official statement on her social channels revealing her ongoing battle with depression and criticizing the traditional press conference format.
This revelation led to a larger discussion about the importance of mental health, self-care and best practices for public relations professionals should a client express a similar concern.
PR News Online revealed a few takeaways and lessons publicists should keep in mind for similar situations:
- Always keep your client’s needs in mind and discuss any fears or concerns they have
- Plan ahead. Vet as many questions from reporters prior to a press conference to avoid repetition
- Conduct a media training session to help your client prepare for potential media questions
- Identify an alternative method for your client to meet media demands/requirements. For example:
- In lieu of a press conference, your client can distribute a formal statement to media via email
- Offer an exclusive with a prominent outlet who can help tell your client’s story
What do you think of Osaka’s refusal to participate in the press conference? At Noisy Trumpet we strive to stay ahead of the curve by familiarizing ourselves with current events, and listening to the input of those around us. Do you or your business need help navigating the ever-changing world of PR? Contact us today. We’re just one call, like, follow, retweet, and DM away!