[b]DA needed help, Tellem says at seminar[/b] 7/16/04 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER The Tellem Worldwide public relations firm told listeners during a phone seminar on Thursday that Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon did such a bad job at his first press conference in the Michael Jackson case that the firm felt compelled to help him out. “No one was guiding this press conference,” company President Susan Tellem said. “It was a debacle. . . . We felt it was imperative for us to help get to the district attorney and perhaps take another crack at doing a press conference that was better organized and conveyed information in a more practical way to the media.” Company officials offered their services for free, which they estimated would have cost “in the millions” by now, if they were charging. The hourlong seminar, hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, gave Tellem Worldwide a chance to toot its own horn to an audience of about 200 who paid between $50 and $150 to hear about the company’s Jackson experience. Mr. Sneddon was not available for comment. He and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson presided over the press conference at Earl Warren Showgrounds on Nov. 19, the day after law enforcement raided Mr. Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch and announced a warrant had been issued for the entertainer’s arrest. Some commentators offered harsh criticism of Mr. Sneddon’s performance, saying he acted as if he took the case too lightly. Mr. Sneddon held a second press conference — on the advice of Ms. Tellem, she said — when he filed molestation charges against Mr. Jackson in December. Ms. Tellem liked that one better. “Mr. Sneddon did a fabulous job and even changed public opinion. . . . If it were any other client, we would love to help create a personality piece about the district attorney. He’s a really nice guy, he has nine kids and he’s a churchgoer. There’s a lot of positive things people don’t know about Mr. Sneddon.” Not everyone agrees that the second press conference was an unalloyed triumph. Mr. Sneddon took a swipe at Los Angeles authorities who had decided that the allegations against Mr. Jackson were unfounded. The district attorney expressed regret the next day for assailing the Los Angeles officials before a worldwide audience. Source: [url]http://news.newspress.com/[/url]

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