When Ferguson changed from a quiet St. Louis suburb to ground zero for a renewed battle over civil rights, the town quickly learned it needed a full-time public relations team to manage press inquiries and community outreach.
First, the city hired a bunch of white ladies. That didn't go so well. So the city shifted to Devin James, CEO of the eponymous, minority-owned firm the Devin James Group.
(UPDATE: Not anymore. Here's our story on that: Ferguson PR Rep. Devin James Fired (Sort Of) After Revelation He Shot, Killed Unarmed Man)
But James isn't just a public-relations CEO. He's also a clothes horse with an Instagram feed filled with pre-/-post-workout and workday selfies, each meticulously labeled with a host of hashtags. (Our favorites: #malemodel, #maturity, #communicationthatbenefitspeople.)
There's no separation between James' uber-hashtaged selfies/sub-tweets and his professional posts, and that caused a delightfully snarky skirmish between him and a St. Louis reporter on deadline.It all started with this very characteristic tweet from James: winner of the Riverfront Times Best Newspaper Reporter 2013 award, seemed to think James was focusing too much on #werk and not enough on work, namely connecting Ferguson officials with the media. Two nights before that tweet, Ferguson protesters clashed with police, broke a window and set fire to a restaurant. The next day, James helped Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson release his watershed apology video.
Then he opts into the "Who the f**k are you to tell me how to do my job" approach.
@phampel thanks I don't respond to all media inquires personally I'm the CEO but my staff has been diligent at following up when available— Devin Sean James (@DevinJamesGroup) September 24, 2014
@phampel your deadlines aren't mine u email me usually less than an hour before u need something. Yesterday at 430 for a 5pm before CM— Devin Sean James (@DevinJamesGroup) September 24, 2014
James should probably have stuck with his "I'm the boss" defense, because Hampel isn't about to let James accuse him of procrastinating.
@phampel so don't say my priorities aren't in order. Stop procrastinating and give us a better window this is a high demand assignment SMH— Devin Sean James (@DevinJamesGroup) September 24, 2014
Things heat up a bit when Jon Swain of the Guardian joins in.
LIE: Twice gave you multi-day notice: MT "@DevinJamesGroup: your deadlines aren't mine u email me less than 1 hr before u need something."— Paul Hampel (@phampel) September 24, 2014
@phampel Incredible, isn't it— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) September 24, 2014
@jonswaine Ferguson could not have chosen a more tone-deaf spokesman.— Paul Hampel (@phampel) September 24, 2014
James doesn't seem to care, either about sniping with a reporter in public or about haters in general.
@OldSport You mean both of my dress shirts?— Paul Hampel (@phampel) September 24, 2014
#realtalk #businessandpleasure #maturity