Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rudy Giuliani says "no'' to private interview for Tribune

Zach Frederick of SLO asked a question that several of you may have from time to time when a major political candidate visits the area: Why didn’t The Tribune get an interview with Rudy Giuliani to ask the former New York mayor’s opinion on migrant labor and nuclear power, among other issues local citizens are concerned about? “Sufficient local journalism would have provided an advance outline of Rudy's visit to Santa Margarita, coverage of the event on the day after (thank you), and a short interview with the candidate about issues of concern to Central Coast residents,’’ Frederick said. “If you asked for an interview and he declined, you should have pressed harder until you got what you wanted.’’

Philosophically, we completely agree with Mr. Frederick, but in reality events like this rarely – if ever – work as he suggests.
In this instance, after we learned that Rudy Giuliani would visit Santa Margarita, we wrote a short story on the upcoming visit and sought a private interview with him. We were told that after Giuliani spoke to the crowd, he’d spend a little time with all local media, collectively, not one-on-one. What occurred, however, was not as promised, according to Assistant City Editor Tony Prado who was in charge of the local coverage Sunday. “Giuliani's visit totaled barely 25 minutes at the park - like the old-fashioned whistle-stop tour,’’ Prado said. “Questions were allowed the moment Giuliani walked off the stage, but he was surrounded by his handlers and a crowd of onlookers taking pictures, listening in and trying to talk to him. He took only four questions, and that was it, then he was off.’’
As Managing Editor Tad Weber puts it, “political campaigns blow off all media at staged events when they want to, from the New York Times to The Tribune.’’ The best way around that is to research an issue in depth, then snare a 20-minute interview on the candidate’s campaign plane or vehicle with just the candidate, Weber added. We have done this in the past. But that wasn’t an option this time.

-- Sandy Duerr

1 comment:

SLOnative said...

Sandy: Rudy Giuliani spoke to county elected officials earlier that day at Santa Margarita Ranch after a round of golf at Chalk Mountain in Atascadero. Giuliani took questions from the audience on topics such as the War in Iraq, Immigration, How to stop forging of government I.D. cards,and the fiasco surrounding the New Orleans flood....before heading off to the Santa Margarita Park barbecue. Then he was off to Modesto and southern California. I'm surprised the local media wasn't in attendance to videotape that meeting. I'm sure someone with a camera was in attendance.

Another story you missed that day was the sellout performance of the San Luis High Chorus in a farewell salute at the PAC to their retiring instructor Gary Lambrech (sp?). If someone was sitting in the upper balcony alongside me, they could have taken a photo of a stage jammed with SLHS Chorus alumni joining with the Chorus in the final number.