As I am sitting here putting the final touches on a seminar on business blogging, I caught this "magic media moment" on the news: "an unscripted and unleashed punter giving some big wig in a suit a large slice of his mind on the state of Sydney trains."


It was a classic moment. One moment there's the "big wig" spewing the usual PR-contrived rhetoric about customer service blah blah... Then suddenly the media is interrupted by a frustrated and articulate commuter who told it like it really is. And seizing the opportunity, they gave him air time. Yay!

Like so many of us who put up with CityRail's embarrassingly substandard services daily, it was really satisfying to hear the very questions I have put forth to RailCorp in such a direct and no-BS manner.

It just goes to show that no matter how a big organisation tries to PR-manage their messages, to cover up their ineptitude with platitudes, we the customers always appreciate a bit of directness and truth. The more they try to sweet talk and sweep issues under the carpet (as the government is doing over this issue by denying there are serious issues with RailCorp), the worse everything becomes for them in the eyes of the public.

This incident perfectly highlights one of the points I will be making in my seminar. That transparency and real conversations- facilitated by a blog for example - are often better approaches to relationship building than the conventional "we tell you all is well" PR approach.

Read Adam Walter's full report with video footage on Nine.