Monday, October 20, 2014

Of the Alisal and the need for public relations

At the most recent board meeting of the Alisal Union School District, there was an item that seemed like a no-brainer. A three-month, $18,000 contract with PRx Digital, a public relations company, to help them spin a better tale about the Alisal.

This is how administrators made their case: "The District badly needs professional assistance in fairly laying out the facts of the Alisal story -- both achievements and continuing challenges. Over the past five year, the District experienced an environment where facts were distorted by sensational media reporting and politicized, extremist public comment."

To put it mildly.

So this San Jose company -- with veteran journalist Marcos Cabrera on board -- would have tried in three months to convince Alisal trustees their job was needed. And given the amount of scrutiny this contract faced, you would have thought it was $18 million, not $18,000 they were considering to approve.

A couple of trustees -- including Noemi Armenta -- did not want the job to go to consultants because union members are generally opposed to consultants. But she and other board members wanted somebody to be hired part time. Or on an interim basis, to see what kind of results it would give them. So I was wondering, wouldn't the three-month contract with PRx have done the job? To demonstrate to trustees that it may actually be a good idea to hire a professional to help with public relations?

There's a reason why this item is of particular interest to yours truly. A communications professional at an organization makes the job so much easier. This person (when they're truly on top of things, because they not always are) helps you find the appropriate administrator to answer your questions, helps you coordinate photo shoots (so much in demand in this day and age of digital media) and in general can serve a very good public relations purpose. They probably will not help you find the dirt in your organization (something that journalist must and love doing), but dogged journalist would have plenty of time to do that when a public relations expert is on board ;)

Now I hear the Alisal is actually looking for a full time director of communications. And in the meantime, all we keep getting from KSBW is stories about former trustee Jose Castañeda. I wonder if a director of communications will be successful in steering broadcast news in other directions.

And speaking of public relations, veteran communications pro and media darling Marci McFadden has jumped from the Monterey County Office of Education ship and landed on the MPUSD one. Finally, somebody who will help me set up drama-free photo shootings!!!!! I can hardly wait, Marci!

And who will land on the MCOE boat? That will be very interesting indeed. 

Marcos, you should apply!

No comments:

Post a Comment