Thursday, June 15, 2006

Local media training

One Man was on TV the other night, and complained that instead of saying something intelligible, he was quoted as saying this: “Aurora lost something unique to town, We don’t have a whole lot other towns next to us don’t have. It’s depressing.“ He really is a Republican! (If One Man can crack the Bush joke, then so can I.)

Reminds me of my first interaction with the local press here in town. Robin and I were gearing up to host our first political fundraiser, for Howard Dean, back in February of 2003. We thought that Democrats hosting a fundraiser in Naperville was newsworthy (we were right), so I sent an email to the local reporters and sure enough, two of them called back. Now you have to know that as a frequent company spokesperson, I’ve had media training for print and broadcast, I’ve been interviewed in dozens of publications, and have been on multiple press and analyst tours.

I share that not to brag, but to set up what happens next. Reporter from the Daily Herald calls, we do about a 30 minute interview, and I stay on message. Why I’m supporting Howard Dean, why I think it’s important so early in the ’04 race to be active, etc. At the end of the call, we’ve wrapped up and the reporter asks in passing, “You’re catering the event, right?”

I’m caught a bit off guard, as we’d been talking political issues just a moment before. “Um, no. We’re cooking.” She reacts, surprised. “Wow! That’s a lot of work.” “Nah,” I say, “it’s a good excuse to spend some time in the kitchen.”

Headline the next day?

“Naperville man believes he can change the world, one canape at a time.”

So, One Man, sometimes knowing what you want to say isn’t enough…

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