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I’m sorry. Let’s move on.

31 Jan 2014

I’m sorry. Let’s move on.

A lot is written in the Public Relations world about the importance of apologies. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve even blogged about it here and here. I hate the non-apology apology and I hate the passive voice.

Screen shot 2014-01-31 at 9.33.32 AMWhat’s starting to grate on me is the “I’m sorry I was a jerk. Now let’s all get over it and act like it never happened.” Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm, who was caught on camera threatening to push a reporter over the balcony for asking him about campaign finance allegations, is the most recent example of that.

Sure, he did the right thing by apologizing. The problem is, it didn’t sound at all like he meant it or even cares. That bothers me. There’s not a lot he can do to “make good” (though I hear he offered to take the guy out to lunch). I just wish he seemed more sincere.

In other news, we’ve got the debacle in Atlanta. Politico has a great piece, “The Day We Lost Atlanta,” giving perspective on the total system-wide failure of leadership that was years in the making. The author points out that more than 60 entities failed to work together.

APTOPIX Winter Weather Georgia

How 2 lousy inches of snow paralyzed a metro area of 6 million.
By REBECCA BURNS – January 29, 2014

Leadership was slow to take responsibility, alternately half-apologizing and playing the Super Bowl of blame games. In this case, apologies absolutely must come with some action – not only a review of what went wrong, but also a true effort for governments and the private sector to collaborate and plan together.

Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an apology, (after blaming the meteorologists and everyone else he could) expressing his sympathy and offering some immediate steps the state was taking to get people to their stranded vehicles. It’s a start.

So, PR friends… what do you think? When is an apology not enough?



Kate Venne


Kate Venne is the Director of Public Relations at Capstone National Partners. If you’re interested in media training, contact Kate to find out more.

Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.



The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.


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  1. Joseph Reply

    Frankly, apology without action is never enough. A true apology is a defense, or justification for whatever offense occurred. In the contemporary vernacular it has come to mean “saying sorry.”

    I would rather hear no apology but witness remedial action. Whatever the circumstances. It is more meaningful to hear an acceptance of responsibility and a plan to improve.
    From children in pre-k to the SOTU, people have been trained to expect, give, and receive apologies. It’s a cheap, “band-aid” solution. Like wrapping gauze around a deep incision, eventually you have to stitch the wound.

    Unfortunately for the governor, no one is interested in what pieces of the plan failed. They pay him to worry about that. They want to see that it won’t happen again.

  2. Don’t blame the weather man | Capstone National Partners Reply

    […] This comes just a few months after Roker blasted the mayor of Atlanta and Governor of Georgia for their poor planning leading up to the January 29th storm. I wrote about that poor decision-making and apologies from city and regional leaders that felt too little too late here. […]

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