On Monday, someone set off a bomb at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, killing at least 35 people. Within a few hours, editors at Q&Q received an e-mail from a major Canadian publisher, alerting us (and everyone else on that publicist’s press list) to the fact that they had recently published a book on the subject of women terrorists, and that the author of the book was available for interviews. A general press release about the book was attached.
The next day, we received another e-mail, noting that “the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quotes a law enforcement source as saying a woman might have been accompanying the man and assisted in the explosion,” and again offering the author for interviews about the subject. (So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and Russian authorities have not confirmed the suicide bomber’s identity.)
Here’s the question: is it okay to publicize an author or book on the back of a tragic incident like the Moscow bombing? Is there an appropriate waiting period to observe before sending out e-mail solicitations?
Or, on the contrary, are such pitches offering expert opinions an important service for producers of news and current affairs programs? (Though in that case, wouldn’t a direct call or e-mail be more effective?)