Speaking of public relations, did you catch the news yesterday about the power outage at the Oahu Community Correctional Center? Now power means no security systems working except via generators, and no air conditioning in buildings not designed to let in any outside air.
Here’s one of those things that drive me crazy, from a KHON news report last night:
We went to OCCC to see for ourselves, but were told to get off the property. We could only shoot from across the street.
We went to the union that represents corrections officers, United Public Workers, but no one was available to talk. We also went to the Department of Public Safety to get more specifics on the security measures that are in place. A spokeswoman said no one was available to go on camera. The only thing she could do was provide updates on the power outage.
There are several things in those two short paragraphs that make my head spin.
First of all, why should the Department of Public Safety be concerned about news crews on site to report on the power outage? Why not assist them in getting a couple of good camera angles and, in the process, assisting the public in understanding what’s going on? Okay, perhaps that’s just a rhetorical question, but the point is that this was wholly unnecessary, and would be counterproductive for any state department or agency.
Second, there’s a public sidewalk along the Gillingham side of OCCC. So why was KHON told they had to shoot from “across the street”?
And then there was this: “A spokeswoman said no one was available to go on camera.”
So who was the spokeswoman and why was she unable to go on camera?
According to Civil Beat’s database of public employees, the Department of Public Safety has a communications specialist earning $70,188 per year.
In my book, that’s someone who should be available to go on camera or before reporters to answer questions at just about any time.