If there is a silver lining to my little sister being nearly eaten by a large omnivorous beast, it is that I got to see her here in New York for the day. She’s due to be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning. I have had interactions with television news producers before, of varying reputation, but I guess I was unprepared for the frenzy of producers who want Megan to appear.
On one hand, I completely understand that this is a compelling story, though I also realize many do not see it as “real news.” While most people injured mortally at this age will still die behind the wheel of an automobile (less likely for Megan, since her old Volvo just gave up the ghost), there is a primal fear of being eaten, and perhaps an opportunity for people to vicariously feel the thrill of survival through Megan’s story.
We had brunch at Nice Matin and discussed her coming career as a motivational speaker. Her speech would be simple “Hi, I got bit by a shark and survived. Be inspired.” We then headed over to the American Museum of Natural History and made fun of the puny size of their Great White.
Meanwhile, the press, who had already been a bit frenzied during her hospitalization, seem to have gone berserk in the intervening days. Every Halavais with a phone listing (not many) are getting repeated calls from producers asking when Megan can come on. Some are expected (Montel, Current Affair) but the really tenacious ones are the daytime and morning network shows (no names mentioned, to protect the guilty). Some are seeking exclusives, but all want to have her first. And they seem perfectly willing to win over (or badger) her family members to apply pressure. Meanwhile, Megan is trying to navigate these shark-infested waters, and trying at the same time to deal with recovering from a pretty serious injury.
With personal legal insurance increasingly common, I think we need personal PR insurance for when we each get hit with our 15 minutes of fame. Rather than fielding dozens of calls from the media, the PR firm would step in, negotiate appearances, and make sure that fleeting fame landed Megan something more lasting than a trip to New York: say a replacement for the dead Volvo, or her own “Shark Bite” clothing line. Yes, I’m kidding (only serious) — I’d be happy enough if they could act as a minor barrier to ensure that she was treated with more respect than a piece of ratings meat. But hey, that’s just me.
Update: The interview can be found here (Under the Good Morning America tab).