Governor Hunt and I were in Wilmington last night for a book signing, which one TV station used to pursue a feud they apparently have with Governor Perdue over her accessibility to the media, or lack thereof.
The same day, I got a call from a veteran Raleigh reporter complaining about the Governor: “I could see Mike Easley easier than I can see her!”
Accessibility is an issue every Governor and his or her communications staff wrestles with.
The Raleigh reporter said: “They talk to us only when she has something to say, not when I want to ask her questions.”
When I was Governor Hunt’s press secretary, from 196 to 1984, we had a policy of total accessibility. He would talk to reporters pretty much whenever they asked. In turn, we never hesitated to call them when he wanted to say something.
In his last two terms, during the ‘90s, his staff wanted a more controlled approach. I went along.
In retrospect, I think I was right the first time around.
There’s a value in answering tough questions. You learn a lot. You get sharper and better. You stay on your toes.
Of course, that opinion may also come from getting older and, I hope, wiser. I get less upset about one bad story than I used to. There’s always going to be another day, another story, another issue of the paper and another broadcast.