Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dear Governor-elect Kasich: Call me next time

File this under writer as image consultant:

About 8 hours after every newspaper and website in Ohio (and quite a few outside the state) broke stories about governor-elect John Kasich's edict excluding the media from his inauguration, the guv reversed his decision. 

And that was the right decision. But. There's always a but - and a good writer knows what to do with it. 

Because Kasich intended to hold the inauguration at his private residence, rather than the governor's mansion, there were undoubtedly many important issues (security) that may- just may- have warranted the closed ceremony.

Had he handled the message a little (okay a lot) differently, Mr-about-to-be Governor could have not only kept the media at bay, but won (more) friends and influenced (more) people at the same time. For example, how 'bout a press release stating, "These are dire times for Ohio; our budget is severely strained. Because of this, I cannot justify the expenditure required to hold a traditional, large, very public inauguration ceremony. The (show big dollar amount here) savings will go directly to the state's bottom line, and in doing so, I hope to show every other state worker I mean business."  

It certainly would have given me a different perspective on things. As it is, I'm just left wondering, what's this guy's real agenda? Of course, we would have wanted the media to verify the dollar-savings claim, but as long as it was legit, Kasich would have gotten his private inauguration and had the attention of the entire state when he got to work on Monday.*

The words you choose can set the tone for everything. Much as I hate to put it in these terms, I'm afraid it's appropriate in this case: Media 1, Kasich 0. (Mr. Kasich, feel free to call me.)

*John Kasich gets to work as Ohio's governor January 10, 2011

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