Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Advice to Reporter Advising Candidate: Don't

Media consultants help politicians better deal with reporters and communicate on camera. Basketball players have coaches, why not public servants? And who better to coach you on how to deal with reporters than a reporter?

(If you are looking for media training, I know a guy.)

The problem is when the media consultant is a current reporter who is covering the candidate's campaign, especially when the candidate names the reporter while introducing his campaign staff.

This happened in south Florida where congressional candidate Allen West says in the video below that West Palm Beach TV reporter Angela Sachitano "does our media relations."

The Palm Beach Post reports that Sachitano's boss at WPTV-TV, Jeff Brogan, doesn't believe the relationship compromised her journalistic integrity but that her work for West was "inconsistent with our policy."

It was also inconsistent with having a brain.

Look, if you live somewhere long enough you are (I hope) going to know a lot of people. One of them may run for congress. You might even give him some tips on how to perform better on camera, what reporters are looking for and how to answer their questions.

But if you're a real journalist, does anyone need to tell you to stay away from his campaign appearances? Or to inform your bosses at work that you're friends with the guy and shouldn't do stories about him or his opponent?

Full disclosure: I worked with Brogan at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati from 2002-2004. Please do not construe this post as casting aspersions on him.

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