Sponsored By
Amy Campbell

July 24, 2009

2 Min Read
Six Degrees of Michael Jackson ... How Self-Storage Got Roped Into This Mess

Just when you thought there couldn't be any possible tie between the Michael-Jackson-controversial-death-mystery media frenzy and our industry ... Surprise! Police raid a self-storage unit belonging to one of Michael's doctors, one Dr. Conrad Murray, who is now officially a suspect for manslaughter in the investigation.

This week investigators removed evidence from Murray's unit at Eighteenth Street Self Storage in Houston, including computer hard drives, CDs and documents. You can read a summary of the story here: Police Raid Storage Unit of Michael Jackson’s Doctor. And if you've got the time, jump over to ABC News and watch the news report.

I don't share this for the sake of gossip. This new turn in the story brings to light an important fact of our business: You never know when a public sensation lies in wait. You must have a plan for addressing the media in the event that your facility is pulled unwittingly into the limelight thanks to the behavior, reputation or status of one of your tenants.

If you checked out the video, you'll see a very short clip of the self-storage facility manager, talking about items that were removed from Murray's unit by two women the day MJ died. From the look of things, I'd say the woman was completely unprepared to be thrust in front of the camera and had no real presence of mind. I don't know the facility's policies, but in my estimation, she had no business talking to the media or sharing details of the unit's contents or its renter's activities. Her husband also gave an interview to a reporter with The New York Times. That's not exactly "damage control."

But let's be fair: Anyone can be taken off guard by the descent of the media, and some even enjoy the attention. As a business operator, however, you should have in place a specific set of guidelines to follow during public-relations hiccups. For example, read these articles published in ISS:

How would you have handled this situation? What's your facility policy? I'd love to hear from both owners and managers. And if you feel an overwhelming urge to chat on the topic, hop over to Self-Storage Talk and join in on the thread where people giving their views on the doctor's role in MJ's demise.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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