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Kim Genardo of NBC-17 is following a well-trod path from capital reporter to Governor’s communications director. Most every governor hires a capital reporter to tame the savages. I made that switch from the N&O to then-Lt. Governor Hunt in January 1976 – 37 years ago! (As I recall, I was about 13 years old.)
Two issues arise here – one past and one prospective. First, the past: Was she talking to the Governor about the job when, as the N&O noted Saturday, “she did a one-on-one interview with McCrory for WNCN 10 days ago”? If she was, she shouldn’t have done the interview. It puts her coverage in question.
Second, looking ahead: Which master will she serve – Governor or media?
It’s a tricky task. Some Governors think that, since you were one of them, you should have some kind of mojo that insures positive media coverage. But some journalists think you’ve sold out and gone over to the dark side.
Some hacks-turned-flacks turn into media scourges. They block reporters’ access to the great man, yell and scream at reporters who write tough stories and thereby poison the relationship.
I made my share of mistakes, but learned one big lesson: Your job is, in fact, to serve two masters. Yes, you work for the Governor, but your paycheck comes from the taxpayers of North Carolina and you have a unique responsibility to serve the public.
So you have to respect the role journalists play in getting information to the public, even if your boss and the people around him get mad. You have to help both sides: help the governor tell his story and help the reporters write their stories.
Fortunately, I had a boss who understood the role of the media, liked to read newspapers and watch the news and – most of all – didn’t hold a grudge. Oh, he got mad about stories. But he vented his anger with me, not them, and he was willing to talk to the reporter again. After all, there will be another paper and another broadcast tomorrow.
Governor Hunt also found that reporters’ questions alerted him to problems his own people wouldn’t tell him about. Never in history has a gubernatorial appointee volunteered: “Governor, you know that assignment you gave us? Well, we have made a total hash of it.”
So good luck, Kim. All you need is a cool head, a thick skin and a sense of humor.


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2 comments on “From Hack to Flack

  1. dap916 says:

    Kim Genardo seems to be imminently qualified for the position of communications director. She said that she has been asked by people from both sides of the political aisle to work for them, so she seems to be respected in a bipartisan manner. Gary has given her good advice, while at the same time blowing his horn with regard to his stint with Govenor Hunt….ya know he had to get that in, didn’t ya? 🙂

    As far as Genardo having possibly talked to McCrory prior to her interview with him…this is how Gary works. He puts a candidate in question and then makes nice, putting some doubt in people’s minds about someone in the opposition or someone working for the opposition. He’s learned well throughout his political years.

    I think we should judge Kim Genardo by the job she does rather than by what an extremely partisan political blogster like Gary Pearce implies about her or insinuates. And, Gary needs to stop with the constant attempts to try to find anything and everything real or imaginary to say against everyone within the McCrory administration and against anything and everything that McCrory is even considering trying to do. I know Gary is deeply hurt that republicans are in control in Raleigh. He can’t go to the the governor’s office or to the legislative offices and crow about his “days with Hunt” because republicans are in control there and that just HAS to kill his considerably oversized ego.

    His only outlet is to do what he is doing here on TAP (and God knows what other blogsites he posts or contributes on). Sometimes, I feel sorry for him…but, not much.

  2. Carbine says:

    The media kissed Hunt’s butt every day, just as they’ve done for every Democrat in that office. Gary only THINKS he had a tough job; he has no idea what being a real communications director is like.

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