Monday, August 13, 2007

Media face-time

I got a “message” recently passed to me through one of my Deputies from a local law enforcement official (kind-of reminds you of grade school doesn’t it). The message was (to paraphrase): You ought to come out when there is a high profile case, the media is there, when the previous Coroner was in office (meaning the longer serving individual in office prior to the one I was elected instead of) she would have been there.

I don’t do that and I will not do that. Going someplace related to a tragedy (that is after all the basis of the work of my office) just to get “camera time” is not my way of doing things. If a case that my office is involved in gets media attention and the media seeks me out or if there is a real reason to hold a press conference to get out information to all of the media at the same time and in the same way, I will participate.

I will respond to a scene from time to time, not with the intent to be seen, but with the intent to see and learn about the case, to participate in my office’s investigation. That is the way I plan to keep it. Even when I am not physically at the scene I am talking with my Deputy running our investigation on the scene, listening, discussing and consulting on the investigation. That is my role (much like when I was in the ER and paramedics were in the field under my direction and serving as an extension of “me” into the field).

I feel it is unfortunate that others don’t share my thoughts on this. I have seen officials arrive at scenes for the face-time. There are plenty of opportunities for me to work with the media without my seeking them out or seeking out “camera time”.

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