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  • Chary On the MTA

    Jay Walder, chief of NYC’s MTA, finally sees eye-to-eye with a reporter. Well, at least a bit.

    Last week we wrote about how Greg Mocker, a particularly persistent reporter for WPIX-TV, has been dogging the Transit Authority boss.  We showed a clip of Walder’s sorry performance when cornered by the media. Walder kept his gaze fixed far above the pack of reporters and jerked his head around like a fish trying to throw a hook.

    Well, Mocker cornered Walder again. As can be seen in the video below. The bus and subway czar managed to actually look at his accuser. That’s progress! Now if he can only work on the substance of his answers — he will be making some improvement with his public communications.

    As an aside — after we wrote about Mocker’s report last week — he included a shot of our blog and talked about our “excellent use of the word ‘mockery'” in a subsequent report, a clip of which can be seen here

    The original Charlie on the MTA


  • Adrian’s Wall

    D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty decisively lost his re-election bid last night.

    The Washington Post says that he “squander(ed)” the “success and the goodwill that catapulted him to office.”

    How did Fenty, once a rising star in the political firmament, crash so badly? TBD.com provides a partial answer. Fenty managed to offend one of his earliest constituencies — the media. And when the press is actively down on you — you can be in big trouble.

    Fenty has a reputation for being aloof and arrogant. He recently put his twin sons in a high-performing DC public school far from the school district where the mayor lives. When asked about the process, Fenty stiffed the questioners. He hid behind a “I won’t answer questions about my kids” response. The questions weren’t about the kids. They were about Fenty’s “rules don’t apply to me” attitude. Check out the testy exchange in the video below.

    View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

    TBD.com quotes Tom Sherwood, a local NBC 4 TV reporter, as saying: “Adrian Fenty treated the media pretty much like he treated everybody else.” That is not a compliment.

    You reap what you sow. Go out of your way to be combative with reporters and they will find plenty of opportunities to show the public what kind of a jerk they think you are.

    Politicians may not get positive coverage if they make themselves readily accessible to the press — but we guarantee that they will get negative coverage if they don’t.

    There is a lesson in this for other elective leaders. President Obama has had only two full-blown press conferences this year. Is it any wonder that the group the he once jokingly referred to as “the people who made me (a celebrity)” is turning on him?

    We teach that reporters are like alligators — you don’t have to like them but, if you are wise, you keep them well fed.

    Fenty’s imperial style and refusal to feed the alligators made him a one-term mayor.


  • Where’s Walder

    There are two ways to handle an aggressive reporter who has already made up his mind on a story: 1) Ignore him or  2) Engage him with the same tenacity that he uses.

    In the video below New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority Chief, Jay Walder, does neither.

    Greg Mocker of WPIX-TV has been on a crusade against Walder and the MTA.  The MTA leadership has failed miserably in their response.
    Walder simply memorized a press release and delivers his response to Mocker questions in a “that’s my story and I am sticking to it” tone of voice.  
    His lack of eye contact with Mocker and ALL the other reporters is just bad form.  It seems clear he is rattling off his prepared answers and is himself rattled. The clear impression is that he wants to get it over with.  
    We almost never counsel method one, ignoring the reporter.  So, our advice to the MTA is to get MUCH more prepared. Don’t run away from the questions.  Look the reporter in the eye, respond directly to the question, and stand there until the reporters run out of questions.  
    The MTA Chief should know more about his business than a WPIX reporter.  If he cannot defend his organization and his actions, he has a lot more problems than being mocked by Mocker.