By Robert Haugh
Santa Clara News Online gets lots of press releases. (And I’ve read thousands during my journalistic career).
A recent one stands out for being really bad.
The Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce (formerly the Santa Clara Chamber) announced its newest CEO, Harbir Bhatia.
The headline signaled that the release was going to be over the top – not a good start for journalists who are looking for basic facts to write stories or columns.
According to the release, Bhatia is “dynamic” and represents the “future of Silicon Valley.”
Wow. Those are two big claims. But the two-page release never says how she is those things.
The release is a long list of Bhatia’s service on boards and commissions mostly. It leaves out her most controversial business experience.
Bhatia worked for Silicon Sage. The developer declared bankruptcy after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged them with defrauding investors. Hundreds of investors may have lost $119 million in a Ponzi scheme.
It’s not the first time Bhatia has hidden her association with her previous employer. She hid it during her losing 2020 City Council campaign.
Bhatia is also the first person quoted in the press release about herself. That’s unusual and as Jimmy Garrapolo would say “weird.”
The release also suggests that the appointment was recent. But Santa Clara News Online broke the story on June 27, two months ago.
Chamber Board Chairwoman Elnaz Masoom doesn’t show up with a quote until page two of the press release. In most professional press releases, she would be quoted before Bhatia.
In the entire press release, there’s no information about the Chamber itself or what the organization has done for businesses or Santa Clara. Another wow.
Usually, there’s a sentence or paragraph that brags about the organization or institution.
But this release was like a Bhatia biography that leaves out all the bad stuff.
There’s still four months to go in 2023. But this press release is likely to win the prize for worst of the year.