So, where is the media?

History of the 2009 Albany Tax Day Tea Party – Part IV

Two days prior to the rally, and we were not sure how to answer that question.  Outside of Al Roney’s talk radio show, we had seen nearly zero media coverage.  It was the case despite distribution of well-written press releases and surging numbers of attendees on our Facebook page.  We were worried.

Looking back, we should have recognized that it was normal.  We were nobodies on the local media stage.  Who had ever heard of the “Albany Tea Party?”  As a group made up of relative amateurs, we had little experience interacting with the media.  We did not entirely realize that the media is focused on the present, not so much on the future.  Simply put, we were not newsworthy… yet!

All of that changed on April 14, 2009.  It was then that we started to field calls from local papers.  It was also the day where we received our first television coverage.  That coverage resulted from what I call, “The Lucky Pitch.”  Two days before the rally, I found myself frustrated with the lack of media coverage.  Late that night, I sent an e-mail to Brian Taffe, then the host of “Capital Tonight” on Capital News 9, (now YNN).  In that e-mail, I noted that they were missing out on a big story.  I mentioned that a number of cities across New York State would have tea parties on April 15th.  I emphasized that we expected a crowd of a thousand or more in Albany.  Early the next morning, (April 14th), I received two phone calls.  The first from Brian Taffe, asking me to appear on “Capital Tonight” that evening.  The second from Kaitlyn Ross asking me to join her for a live morning broadcast at 7:00 AM from the Corning Preserve on April 15th.

Start up the butterflies.  Gulp.  Evening rolled in, and I found myself at Capital News 9‘s building, wearing a suit & tie, and sitting uncomfortably in front of a remotely operated camera and monitor.  My first TV interview was live, and because it included a remote feed with the Syracuse Tea Party organizer, I was not in studio with Brian Taffe.  Instead, I found myself facing off with a robotic camera that seemed to pan and zoom of its own accord.  To be fair, Brian Taffe greeted me ahead of time and provided suggestions and instructions. But then he, (and seemingly everybody else), disappeared.  At least, that was how it felt.  I was more nervous during the interview than I was addressing a crowd of thousands the very next day.  Every muscle in my body was tense, the volume of the speaker in my ear was much too loud, but the interview went well.  Phew.

After an intensely late night of last-minute preparations, I found myself at the Corning Preserve.  After only a couple hours of sleep, I met Kaitlyn Ross for my second TV interview.  Fortunately, I found it much easier to talk to a person instead of a camera.  The interview went well.  Sigh of relief.  TV interviews aren’t so bad after all.

Upon completion of the interview, the local media floodgates opened.  My cellphone rang almost immediately.  TV stations wanted to know where to go, where they could park, and if I could give a statement.  Once Capital News 9 picked up on the story, the remainder of the local media followed suit.

How best to describe the coverage?  My answer:  relatively fair.  TV coverage was fairly positive.  Print coverage was more negatively biased, but not overly so.  And radio… well, WGY carried a live feed of the event.  We were very pleased.  It was good to see all the PR work, especially by volunteer PR Coordinator Audrey Pietrucha, come to fruition.  A little luck didn’t hurt either.

I found a montage of some of the TV coverage that has been posted, (not by me), on YouTube:

So, that’s the media coverage.  MUCH better than expected.  But what really happened on April 15, 2009?  Find out in Part V.

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