Premier Christy Clark’s New Press Secretary Shows How Not to Manage Media Relations
Obviously B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s new director of communications Sara MacIntyre didn’t do her homework on local media. She had done the same job for the Prime Minister and may have been bounced for being too aggressive. But the back east media is small ‘c’ conservative. They are somewhat pushy but not uber aggressive.
No holds barred out here. When you tell a good reporter in British Columbia that they can’t do something, they are definitely going to do it. Reporters demonstrate the long-held tradition of a free press every day.
Veteran Global Television cameraman Paul Rowand took MacIntyre on while videotaping the Premier who had just invited reporters and camerapersons to follow her into a Vancouver trade show. “No go” from MacIntyre was met with “what did you say?” from Rowand as he kept walking and videotaping while firing off questions including “who are you and where are you from?”
The gum-chewing MacIntyre snapped back with sneering answers with the most condescending looks. Then she did the ultimate no-no: She stood right in front of Rowand’s camera in a futile attempt to block access to the Premier.
The embarrassing Global TV coverage that resulted from the altercations has now gone viral. I will use it in media training as an example of how not to manage media relations.
Former CTV reporter Chris Olsen (Olsen on your side), who was Premier Clark’s past press secretary, lost his job to the feisty MacIntyre. Olsen got off side in his attempts to manage the media even though he was once one of the reporters. The Premier’s office thought he couldn’t do the job. Well, what about MacIntyre?
She’s now off side with reporters who will find ways to continue to make her look bad. She forgot that you may be able to manage reporters, but you can’t control them. You would be better off trying to herd cats.
Maybe she should ask some key reporters for advice on how to facilitate positive news coverage on government. Christy Clark says she stands for open and transparent government. What does Sara MacIntyre stand for?