This blog post continues our discussion with Trisha Pancio, publications and public relations manager for Portland Center Stage.
People have left many comments on your blogs — both good and critical. I was particularly impressed to see that you did not remove critical posts; in fact, you responded to them and when possible, you made changes. Your commenting policy and responses to comments reflects best practices in blogging. Did you encounter organizational resistance to being so transparent? Do you have advice for overcoming the fear of public criticism?
Transparency was a huge reason for the shift to a blog-based site actually. Chris is very committed to the organization having no “man behind the curtain.” From my point of view, I think the criticism and the way we handle it publicly says more about who we are as a company than any carefully orchestrated press release ever could. It makes us authentic and makes the good commentary we receive more trustworthy, because it is not “handpicked.”
Not everybody likes everything. And sometimes we get it wrong. Owning up to it is the most important thing we could do. You know, it’s the “show your warts” principle.
Having said that, an interesting side benefit of allowing some of the more virulent commentary to stay on our site is that it REALLY energizes people who passionately liked the show but maybe didn’t feel the need to speak up. You may have noticed that there was a comment on the page for our production of “Sometimes a Great Notion” where the commenter said, “Less than 2% of people will like this play.” Within a few days of that post, we had several people posting impassioned rave reviews directly countering his comment. I seriously doubt as many people would have taken the time to write (even if they really liked the show) if they hadn’t had the prick of that one bad comment. In the end, we ended up with more positive patron reviews for “Sometimes a Great Notion” than for any other show we’ve done.
Readers, feel free to share your questions and comments with Trisha this week.