By Rick Griffin
As the news media’s chief liaison at Rady Children’s Hospital, media relations officer Carlos Delgado is normally a busy man answering phone calls from the press. However, getting more than 500 phone calls and emails over a weekend was a bit excessive.
Delgado knows well the needs of the news media because he has been one of them. After graduating from SDSU, he spent 23 years as a TV news reporter starting in Yuma, AZ, and then working in Sacramento, Fresno, Orange County and Palm Springs before arriving in San Diego in 2005. Even after joining the hospital staff in 2007, he continued to work weekends at XETV-TV, before the station closed in 2017.
“I’ve worked in media relations and crisis communications for 11 years, but what happened that one weekend was at another level altogether,” said Delgado.
Saturday, Sept. 29: It was planned to be a quiet, relaxing morning. However, a 13-year-old boy diving for lobster off the coast of Encinitas was bitten by a great white shark and transported by helicopter to Rady Children’s, San Diego’s only hospital dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare and the region’s only designated pediatric trauma center.
“We have a trauma response communications system in place and it kicked into high gear,” said Delgado, 45, a San Diego native (Point Loma High School, class of 1991). “My phone started ringing at about 8:30 and it kept ringing, one call after another, throughout the morning while I was driving to finish a few errands. I kept pulling off to the side of the road to answer questions. After a couple of hours, it became clear that it was time to go into the office and just stay there.”
Later that day, Delgado met with doctors and the teenager’s parents and organized a late afternoon press conference, which was attended by every major local news outlet and streamed live by some TV stations on their websites and social media. The phone calls continued into the evening with many of them from national media outlets. “I did something I rarely have done. I had to turn off my phone at about 10 p.m. to get some sleep,” Delgado said.
Sunday, Sept. 30: Delgado awoke to about 50 text messages sent overnight. He headed to the office. “We’re limited by law to the information that can be released about a hospital patient’s conditions. So, I was answering the same questions over and over, some of them I couldn’t answer,” he said. “I met with the family and some of them were angry because the press was mispronouncing the kid’s name. By Sunday night, I had received more than 500 phone calls and emails combined over the two days, and I had to turn off my phone again.”
Monday, Oct. 1: Delgado met with the teenager’s mother who was upset with the news media for various reasons. Delgado recommended to the parent that her best response to satisfy news media curiosity would be to answer questions herself. She agreed and appeared at an afternoon press conference.
“Over the years, our hospital has been involved in major news stories that have drawn national attention, but never to this caliber,” said Delagdo, who regularly teaches crisis communications techniques to public information officers around the country. “This time I had to follow my own advice, and it worked out well.”
Five New Clients for c3 Communications
San Diego public relations firm c3 Communications, specializing in special event promotion and public relations, has announced it has been hired as the agency of record by five clients.
The new clients are Beyond Babel, a dance show performing through November at Beyond Babel Theater, 2625 Imperial Avenue; Extreme Sailing Series, held Oct. 18-21 in San Diego Harbor near Harbor Island; Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego, which has raised more than $50 million in the past two years to help Catholic ministries and charitable organizations; Jewish Xperience Week, Oct. 21-27, an event featuring various spiritual, cultural and social activities and sponsored by Shabbat of San Diego; and Dthera Sciences, a San Diego-based, digital therapeutics company and developer of a medical device product that uses artificial intelligence to optimizes therapy for seniors suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Joice Truban Curry founded c3 Communications in 2000.
10Fold Opens a New Office in San Diego
10Fold, a San Francisco-based PR and tech communications agency, has opened a San Diego office at 704 J Street in the Gaslamp. It is the company’s sixth office. In addition to San Diego, regional offices are located in Pleasanton, Capistrano Beach, Austin and Denver.
The company also said two long-time employees were recently promoted: Angela Griffo, an 11-year employee, to senior vice president of client services; and Ross Perich, an 18-year employee, to general manager of the content group and large accounts. Also, Mike Kilroy, with 25 years of experience, has been hired as vice president.
10Fold said its account teams consist of multi-year PR veterans, broadcasters and former journalists. The company said it was honored with the 2018 Grand Stevie Award as PR Agency of the Year. Presented by the American Business Awards organization, the Stevie awards honor organizations in various industries in a wide range of categories.
SDX Discussing Strategies for Amazon
SDX will present “Your Everything Strategy for The Everything Store,” a presentation on Amazon by Ryan Mulvany and Dan Kohler of Quiverr, a San Diego-based Amazon brand optimization management and marketing agency. Presentations will be held from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Incubate Ventures, 2251 La Palmas, in Carlsbad, and Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Downtown Works, 550 West B Street in downtown San Diego. Cost is free for members and $40 per person for non members. The presentation is part of SDX’s ongoing “Inspire” seminar series. For more information, visit SDX at www.sandiegox.org.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.