Coun. Mark Tweidt just doesn’t get it, which is hardly a surprise for a rookie politician.
On Monday night this is what he told city council as they discussed a media training course.
“I don’t know why we would ever go after the media to try -- and this is no disrespect -- to try and get them to tell our messages,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think news across the world is negative, and that’s what sells -- that’s the way it is.”
How creative. It’s the old “bad news sells newspapers” cliche, a half-baked mainstay for unoriginal thinkers the world over.
Big city TV stations may use the “If it bleeds, it leads” approach but that wouldn’t get you far outside of their situation.
Guess what? We live in Prince Albert and treat the news accordingly. If you want to find out about car accidents, you’re welcome to visit the radio blog.
If you read the other articles in Tuesday’s Daily Herald, besides the story explaining this bit of rarified foolishness, I would love the home inspector, who is clearly a media expert, to show where we were selling newspapers that day.
Was it the story advancing the choral concert? Was it the story about the volleyball team winning provincial gold? Was it the story about a program designed to help smokers to learn to run?
In fact we challenge Tweidt to show us the last story that we wrote to “sell newspapers,” because if he thinks stories about council have stores running out of copies he’s sadly mistaken.
What politicians usually mean when they deliver this sort of vapid nonsense is that somebody hurt their feelings by approaching a story from an angle they don’t appreciate.
It’s not the job of the media to deliver city council’s every nugget of wisdom without ever asking hard questions. That’s a point lost on politicians at every level who are forever bemoaning the fact that we don’t tell it like they see it.
They have their opinion and sometimes forget the fact that other opinions exist. I regularly hear from a city official after one of our columnists runs because this person doesn’t like the message our writer delivers.
It’s the bunker mentality that is a big part of politics.
Here’s a bit of free advice to councillors to save the city $8,000 in media training.
If a reporter asks you a question, answer it honestly. If you don’t know the answer, tell the reporter you’ll get back to them and find out. If you don’t wish to answer it, respectfully decline comment.
And don’t be an idiot anywhere in that interaction.
The Daily Herald can be a big booster of this city without jumping on board the collective genius of council. We do it by writing about sports and entertainment and education and profiling the people who live here.
We also do it by writing about and sometimes challenging the decisions made around the council table.
If the aforementioned councillor no longer wishes to be interviewed by the Daily Herald, that bastion of bad news, it’s a favour that we can happily grant him. We think our readers will still somehow be able to muddle through their days.
But we’ll keep covering city hall like only the Daily Herald can, whether he likes it or not.
Perry Bergson/Prince Albert Daily Herald