I am going to wade into some unfamiliar waters here and actually defend the Christie Administration. I know, I know…I can’t believe it either.
But much has been made about CD Maria Comella”s hiring of a “new media” person for 60k. Let’s put aside the wisdom of the salary for a second and focus on the idea of designating someone in the communications office to twitter, facebook, write a blog and keep the website accessible. I actually think it’s hard to condemn them on this one.
After all, the media landscape is shifting and evolving. It’s no longer a handful of print reporters at the State House who are the final filter to the public. And as that traditional State House press corps continues to shrink, the Administration needs to find new and creative ways to keep the public informed about what it is doing on multiple platforms. The web is that tool.
As someone who embraces new technology ( but can’t seem to figure out which button turns the tv off on my remote ), it authorizes me to report that I sometimes hear it from people about using Twitter or one of those other new media tools now available to us. And let’s face it, it is often those who are unfamiliar with how to use certain technologies who are the quickest to dismiss them.
The Christie Administration has also been called hypocritical for hiring someone for new media at a time when departments are supposed to be “doing more with less.” Perhaps there is a tacit acknowledgment here that the whole notion of trimming the state workforce to the barest of bones is not necessarily what’s best. First of all, even if you lay off everyone it won’t really save the kind of money this state needs to right the ship. Second, and I know this because I covered the budget hearings last year ( yes, that’s right…every single one. And yes, I rock ) the reality is that sometimes it’s better to have enough people to do the jobs that need to be done. When you start contracting work out, it winds up costing the taxpayers even more money.