COLLEGE PARK (10/3/18) — When the world’s most famous people and corporations need help saving their reputation, they often call in “The Fixer.”
Michael Sitrick, a 1969 graduate of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, has made a career of navigating public relations crises — whether he’s representing Harvey Weinstein, Michael Vick, Paris Hilton or Exxon.
“Even if you don’t know his name, you know his work,” The New York Times wrote this summer.
Sitrick will talk about how he approaches that work Thursday, when Merrill College Dean Lucy A. Dalglish interviews him during a public discussion at 4:15 p.m. in Knight Hall’s Eaton Theater.
His philosophy has long been to gather facts and get in front of a story — “no comment” is no option.
“If you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you,” Sitrick wrote in a recent column for Townhall. “The controversy and conversation will rage on with or without you. … Most times, you must engage.”
And while Sitrick acknowledges his job is to control that narrative — he’s written two books with titles that clearly describe his strategy: “Spin” and “The Fixer” — Dalglish said he has credibility with the journalists who have needed to work with him.
“He’s a fearless advocate for his clients, but has a reputation for telling the truth,” Dalglish said.
Sitrick — whose wife, the former Nancy Eiseman, graduated from the University of Maryland College of Education — started his career as a reporter at the Washington Star, Baltimore News American and WSID Radio.
He then transitioned into public relations and, in 1989, founded Sitrick and Company in Los Angeles. Now, the company has offices in L.A., New York, San Francisco, Boston, Denver, and Washington.
“He went west and created a niche crisis communications group that has allowed him, for decades, to have a hand in shaping so many high-profile news stories,” Dalglish said.
“There’s much for journalists, strategic communicators and others to learn from hearing about his method.”