Loose Lips

Media Training? Try Media Scolding

LL has returned, unscathed, from an "Executive Media Skills Seminar" with top staff of the Gray administration. The pow wow was off the record, so LL can't spill too much dirt, but fortunately there wasn't any real dirt to spill.

A couple observations: iPads are surprisingly popular among Mayor Vince Gray's top staffers, and the District's local press corps enjoys complaining (LL included).

The most interesting episode came when WTOP's veteran reporter Mark Segraves lit into the Gray administration for the shenanigans that occurred earlier this week at a D.C. Taxicab Commission public hearing when two journalists were arrested. (Segraves allowed LL to quote him.)

"Shame on you people," Segraves said, before going to tell those assembled that they ought to feel embarrassed to be part of an administration that would let that happen. (Segraves also does not like the fact that District officials require journalists to file Freedom of Information Act requests to get routine information. "That's a big F.U. to us.")

Segraves' comments came on the heels of being thrown out of the D.C. Taxicab Commission's offices this morning by security. "The door to the office was subsequently locked, and the lights turned off—leaving the entire cab commission office in the dark," Segraves reports.

Another win for the DCTC!

It should be noted that not every city agency is as obtuse as the DCTC, and Gray has made improvements at an open and transparent government compared to the last guy. But Segraves has a valid point: the ridiculous actions by the DCTC make everyone in the administration look bad.

It should also be noted that Gray canned former DCTC Chairman Leon Swain at the cab industry's request in April without naming a full time replacement. It's becoming clear from what's occurred this week that interim Chairwoman Dena Reed is in over her head. So at least part of this mess in on Gray himself. LL's unsolicited advice: Get a permanent chair over there, pronto, your honor.

  • Truth Hurts

    WTF? Gray throws an "Executive Media Skills Seminar" where agency heads learn from local reporters tips on improving executive communication with reporters covering DC affairs.

    AND THE SESSION IS OFF THE RECORD? What message does that send?

    It's appalling that LL and other reporters participated in this official governmental event under "confidentiality" conditions.

    This is the media's version of Gray's secret advisory group. Unf**ngbelievable!!

  • Addis

    This what the city slogan taxation without representation
    But there is one slogan missed
    Taxi cab commission without taxi representation

  • Drez

    IMO this is the likely the 2.0 version of the Blogger Roundtable his team held during the campaign.
    The nominal idea in that was to provide bloggers with personal access to and information about Gray. In reality it was simply to stroke blogger/reporter egos and reap the benefits of favorable press.
    The nominal purpose here may be different (we need your help!) but I doubt the actual intent was.

  • Drez

    Or else why keep it off the record? The intention is to create the impression they are favoring certain reporters with inside information.

  • WardQueen

    Was Stephanie Reich there? Had she bathed? FYI - Her attitude is always FU, to the press, to the constituents, to everyone except to that official whose tool she happens to be at the moment.

  • RealDC

    What's next? A group field trip to Kings Dominion? Suderman, DeBonis , Lew and Hoskins riding the Rebel Yell roller coaster together would be priceless. Maybe the agency heads and the press can go on a bus trip to an outlet mall, Sherwood and the Kaya looking for outfits........enough, is this really the leadership this city needs at this time? This is embarrassing beyond words!!!

  • knackers

    I have to agree that an off the record, "Media Training" session, when part of the story is how the administration is dealing with the media, seems in poor taste at best. Sure, if Gray wants to hire outside media consultants, fine. But I would have thought any self-respecting local journo would have only been a part of this if it was all on the record. Makes one wonder who is being trained...

    Oh, and by "improvements at an open and transparent government compared to the last guy" surely you have to mean Sulaimon Brown shooting off in all directions, no?

  • Throw the Rascals Out!

    And, somewhere in a distant land His Majesty Fenty I and the Queen Consort Rhee-Rhee are having drinks smiling!