Friday, October 05, 2012

Werner "Chides" the Press

L to R: Scott Parsons, John Cusick & Bob Werner
Northampton County Council member Bob Werner "chided" the press at last night's Council meeting for failing to report the "good news" about Gracedale. The County nursing home opened a new wing recently, and Werner was surprised that nobody covered this step in the right direction.

That might be because it's not particularly newsworthy or even blogworthy. Aside from pictures of a few suits, what's the point?

What Werner fails to point out is that the notice of this event was emailed with just one day's notice. And yesterday, when John Stoffa unveiled his 2013 Budget, there was no notice at all.

In fact, there wasn't even a news conference, although The Express Times and Morning Call both have stories.

Lehigh County is much better at keeping all media outlets informed. In Northampton County, it's hit or miss.

Mostly miss.

Bob Werner apparently wants to see more positive coverage about Gracedale. That would be dandy. It might help increase the census. I appreciate Bob's motives, but the press is not an ad agency. It exists to inform. I get very uncomfortable when a politician starts dictating to the press about what they should and should not cover.

I also get very leery when some members of the press are included in important stories like the unveiling of a budget, while others are either forgotten or snubbed.

It's just another way to control the story.

By the way, one of  Gracedale's biggest handicaps is that federal privacy laws make it impossible to photograph residents without their express, written consent. I found that out the hard way when I recently covered Family Fest. So even if you want to spin a positive tale, it's hard to get pictures unless a staffer accompanies you and gets waivers from every person you photograph.

At some point, it stops being a story and becomes managed news.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again this shows the lack of communication and leadership from Stoffa. As well as his manipulation and half stories.

Anonymous said...

yet another norco blunder

Anonymous said...

can't believe u didn't blog about the bethlum fire fighter

Bernie O'Hare said...

I considered it, but had noting to add to what has already been said.

Anonymous said...

I don't need a PR campaign of bureaucratic doublespeak by elected officials to justify the boondoggle that is Gracedale. Werner should be ashamed. Do your job and we'll figure out how badly you've screwed up.

Better PR my ass. You just can't make this stuff up.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Bernie. It is not the media's job to be the county's PR firm. Werner was grandstanding without the facts. Fact is that Gracedale did not even issue a press release or invitation to the media to cover the event.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think there was a news release the afternoon before the event from the Chamber of Commerce. Now, if it's something really important, like when the DA calls a news conference about some criminal matter, even two hours is enough notice. But for something like this, which obviously as planned in advance, more than a day's notice should be given.

When West Easton opened its new treatment centers, there were multiple news releases and plenty of notice. The media were there in force. So it can be done.

Anonymous said...

Why was the Chamber doing a press release for the county? Even if Gracedale is a member of the chamber they should not leave it up to them to promote an event.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Well, if it were up to the County, we'd still be waiting. They do a terrible job of keeping the public informed. This is something I hace pointed out to the county in the ast, but they don't want to spend the money for PR. They don't have to. Just assign the job to an administrative employee, and insist that it be performed.

One of the many reasons why I thought Gracedale should be sold is bc the County does such a shitty job of marketing itself. And it does. Now Bob comes along and slams the press for not being all over a story that the county itself never bothered to mention to anyone.

Even the Fall Fest, which I did cover, was something I did not learn about via the County. It was instead a volunteer.

If we have a County that doesn't bother to hold a news conference or issue a release when it releases a budget, do you honestly think they'll give a shit about getting the word out concerning Gracedale? .

Anonymous said...

Having negotiated county and statewide contracts across PA and a number of other states, the fact is that Northampton County is rather poorly run and difficult to do business with. Most employees seem capable enough (some are completely worthless, as is the case everywhere), but are hamstrung by a paralyzing culture. Lehigh, Bucks, Montgomery, Monroe, Pike are all fairly tight outfits and make NorCo look like a Mickey Mouse operation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rather interesting observation. Some of that culture you mention is what gives NC a certain charm. At one time, it really was like a family. But I think the entire form of government should be reviewed. Like you say, it's not the people, so maybe it's the home rule charter.

Anonymous said...

IF..a county councilperson feels that an event is important..it should be incumbent upon that person to drum up support for that happening. Call people/press and do what you have to do to make it enticing newswise. Take some pictures and submit them to the local blog writers if the other rags don't bite. Don't blame..take responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Scott Parsons brought the county exec and some of it's officals to the Slate Belt area and it turned out very well and was informative. You don't need the press to be successful and serve the public good. No press but who cares?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would have gone to at least one of them, had I known. But it was not for me. It was for the people in his district.

Anonymous said...

It was for elected officals only but it served the purpose and was a good thing to do. If a tree falls in the forrest and the press is not there..does it make a sound?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think meetings like that are long overdue.

Anonymous said...

Werner is just grand standing !!!! What has he done???????