From Nina Flournoy…
One of our favorite speakers on the trip was Kurt Fromherz, the media specialist for Plaquemines Parish President, Billy Nungesser, an outspoken critic of the way the government and BP has handled the spill from the start. Since last April, Fromherz has worked round the clock, issuing media advisories, press releases, email blasts, social media releases, setting up numerous press conferences and tours to oil-soaked barrier islands. “We took a media-friendly approach, taking reporters out in small groups. It was a mess that BP didn’t want the media to see. They weren’t showing the real story,” Fromherz recalled, noting that he and his crew were the first to go out in boats to take pictures of oil birds and other marine wildlife.
Fromherz, a former journalist, said the spill was like nothing he had ever covered before. “Our communication work was nonstop. We took laptops and printers out on boats and to marinas. It was absolutely the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he commented.
From a media specialist or PR standpoint, he observed that BP and the Coast Guard made the mistake of not “feeding the beast.” He added, “The media needed answers, and they weren’t getting it from BP or the government.”
Nine months later, Fromherz continues to bring reporters close to the front lines, where he says the oil is still clearly impacting the barrier islands, where he has seen no signs of clean-up efforts.
Here are two photo books showing some of the most recent tours to islands off the coast of Plaquemines Parish.