Lambert coordinated media efforts surrounding the topic, including a cover story in The New York Times which was the spark that ignited national (and international) media attention, which led to several months of public relations efforts requiring advocacy and issues management expertise.
The initial push of proactive media outreach resulted in securing interviews for Chris Palusky, Bethany’s president/CEO, with media heavyweights, including CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, AP and ABC World News Tonight. These interviews elevated Bethany’s profile as a leader, raised visibility for vulnerable children in crisis and drove website traffic, ultimately raising awareness for its programs. Lambert was regularly arranging interviews with Bethany representatives, and families who were caring for the separated children—giving an inside look into the fear these children were encountering.
Lambert counseled Bethany to craft a series of documents and execute tactics that would directly answer inquiries, including an FAQ outlining Bethany’s goals and timeline for reunification of the separated children with their families. Lambert also helped Bethany craft several social media responses to threats as well as op-ed articles arguing against the placement of children in detention centers from media outlets across the country.
To navigate the social media crisis and ensuing backlash due to the Michael Moore tweet, Lambert implemented tactics meant to address specific questions and concerns, while highlighting the positive work Bethany was doing and denouncing the Zero Tolerance policy. These tactics included a major press conference with the organization’s president/CEO during the height of national and international media scrutiny around Zero Tolerance and at a time when Bethany was one of the only voices directly involved in the crisis that was willing to speak on the record.