Goff and Howard Public Relations / Public Affairs Logo

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good television and great media strategy

Tuesday was a significant day for the Obama administration’s effort to get its message out. Obama’s team achieved both “quantity” and “quality” in audience impact.


To reach a quantitatively significant audience the President took advantage of a prime time television audience and the millions of people who come with it to give his first address to a joint session of Congress. The speech was well received and has given the media and policy wonks plenty to analyze.


Earlier in the day before a significantly smaller audience yet one that is of significant “quality,” the Obama administration strategically brought the media into the White House communications department. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough got an informal White House tour from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs showed off his office, the staff that works with him, and even showed the hosts where he keeps the flak jacket that is passed down from one press secretary to another.

“Morning Joe’s” audience is a mere fraction of a prime time network broadcast yet the show is popular with audiences in Washington, D.C., and New York City. Yet allowing a live news-focused show into the inner sanctum of the communications department sends a clear message that this White House intends to have a different and more open relationship with the media.

During the election cycle, the Obama campaign was effective in strategically getting its message out. When you combine this with the impact of the prime time speech and the “Morning Joe” appearance, it’s clear that the team has brought the same approach to the White House.