Yuba College trustees listen to media advice
Present a united front, call the chancellor before commenting and prepare positive talking points about the Yuba Community College District, a former TV reporter told district trustees about how to deal with media.
Cristina King, president of MediaReady Services in Santa Cruz County, said every call from a reporter is an opportunity but can prove a problem for the unprepared.
Trustee Jim Kennedy, who for 30 years was treasurer and tax collector of Yuba County, said of King's advice to present a united front that trustees may not always agree on issues.
"You still have to present a united front," King responded, "even if you disagree."
She told the trustees on Thursday at their winter planning session that college officials should avoid using "education speak" when interviewed.
Talk to people like you're speaking to a junior high school student, King advised.
"I hate saying that, but it's true," she added.
King, who said after the session of about 90 minutes that the district paid her $1,000 for the training, heard concerns from trustees.
V. Richard Savarese complained of press interviews that "whatever I say never gets printed."
Not, he added, "how I said it."
Trustee Gary Sandy said the college district is rich with great stories, including the Yuba College student who was the top student of the year at the University of California, Davis.
"We have so many success stories that need to be told — and aren't," Sandy said.
Board president Brent Hastey noted the capital appreciation bond that requires a $58 million payback for the $4.6 million the college district receives in funding.
"I've never had a constituent ever ask me about it," Hastey said of the controversial bond.
King said she misses the broadcast business but is happy to be on the other side advising off cials about the media.
"It is really stressful and a lot of hard work," she said of being a reporter.
She noted, near the end of her presentation, Mark Twain's advice when dealing with newspaper: "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."
Hastey commented about new communications technologies that, "It doesn't matter who buys the ink now."
"It's who buys the server time," he said.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.