Social media maven jump-starting PR in hard-times Flint

Keying on Facebook, he takes on all comers in burnishing image of GM’s birthplace.

The new PR manager and social media guru for the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has a tough job.

Already facing the mounting problems with the auto industry, Matt Bach recently fired back at an Ontario radio station that had launched a “This Ain’t Flint” advertising campaign. The video focused on Flint’s problems — in 1989! — in order to highlight the relative success of greater Ottawa today.

The Flint public relations effort has been an uphill climb, Bach says, ever since Michael Moore released the 1989 documentary Roger & Me about General Motors’ Flint-area plant closings in the mid-1980s, which put tens of thousands out of work.

“Part of my job is to shape public perception,” Bach says. “If you tell anyone you’re from Flint they say, “Oh, Roger & Me, Michael Moore, skinning rabbits.” A portion of the film features a Flint resident who ekes out a living selling rabbits — as pets or as cheap food.

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