Sometimes the Media Create the PR Nightmare

AAA Keolis Self Driving ShuttleInitially, I fell for it. I blame headline writers.

A driverless electric shuttle bus debuted in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday and was involved in an accident within hours. I’m certain this isn’t the kind of publicity that AAA and Keolis were chasing when they launched the shuttle.

I assumed the shuttle was at fault, and I know I wasn’t alone. Television news outlets teased the story in a way that seemed to imply the driverless shuttle was to blame.  Other media outlets were no better:

None of the outlets says the shuttle bus is at fault. But let’s be honest – don’t you read these headlines and make that assumption?

Those who read the story learned quickly that human error caused the fender bender. A delivery truck backed into the shuttle to cause the crash, which injured no one and caused only minor damage.

Sadly, when many of us “cruise the news,” we frequently read only the headlines.

Although I wouldn’t say that any of the abovementioned media outlets got the information wrong in their headlines, here are some media outlets that did a better job of not throwing the shuttle under the bus in their headline approach:

I empathize with the public relations team behind the driverless shuttle, because the next few days will be an uphill battle to clarify to the public that although their vehicle was involved in a crash on its maiden voyage, it didn’t cause the crash.

Many reporters talk smack about public relations people and the things we do that drive them crazy, from bad pitches to having the nerve to follow up on emails or calls that go unreturned.

This story is a reminder that sometimes the media aggravates us, too. These headlines make the job of the shuttle’s public relations team more challenging – needlessly.

(Image via)



1 Respond for Sometimes the Media Create the PR Nightmare

  1. The New York Daily News showing restraint and responsibility. Who knew?