Monday, July 06, 2009

Mondays and the Media

We recent ordinands got an email from The Powers That Be regarding contact with the media, particularly over the next couple of weeks while our denomination has its General Convention out in California.

I'm not quite sure why we would be contacted by the media to comment on doings at GC; it isn't like we're great founts of knowledge about all things Episcopalian. Perhaps there is a fear that if anything exciting happens, we'd be more likely to prattle on about it than more experienced clergy. Somehow I doubt it, though. And my immediate inclination would be to punt to the diocesan media person or my need for my name to be attached to any comment, that's for sure.

In any case, the question du jour for me is how clergy deal with the media. I've done a lot of media work in my prior life in government relations/politics and certainly know how to sidestep a dangerous question with the best of them, but this is a different arena and the pitfalls are many.

So have any of you wise clergy persons had dealings with the media calling you up and looking for comments? How have you handled it?


veryliterary said...

when in doubt, put hands on hips, be sweetly whimsical, and ask for an autograph by the key person in charge of the effort...say "whose idea was this in the first place, anyhows?" (just kidding, must be challenging)

Rev Dr Mom said...

I was doing CPE during GC in 2003. On the day the whole VGR *scandal* broke, a reporter from one of the NY tabloids parked herself right outside the seminary front entrance, and I was the first person she was able to nab as I was coming home. Her question was phrased in such a way that it was clear to me that she had NO CLUE about TEC or what was really happening, so I stood there and explained it to her very simply. Later I was worried about how she might misuse what I said, but surprisingly, she got it right.

But I've never had anyone call me up to ask me anything b/c I was clergy. The big city paper in this diocese has a pretty good religion reporter who has a good working relationship with one of the bishops, so he just goes right to the top. That's true in my (much smaller) diocese of canonical residence as well.