Need Advice - Stake Public Affairs


Ironhold
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Situation:

I presently work for a family of local newspapers. I started out doing deliveries, and now write two columns a week. For one column, my editors have authorized me to discuss religious topics once a quarter. 

At one point, I was also the assistant stake public affairs guy. I was supposed to be #2 to the regular public affairs person, but there was a several-year period in which we couldn't keep anyone in the actual public affairs position. This was a source of frustration, as we had no functional public affairs program, but people knew I was in the media and so I would catch heat whenever something or other didn't get covered. 

Matters came to a head one Sunday when I had it out with the stake presidency at the time. They wanted me to submit anything church-related I tried to write for approval. Well, it took them three weeks to get back to me about a column. 

...A column they didn't want me to run. 

When I tried to inform them that because of the involved lead times I had a mere 72 hours to dash out a replacement column, one of the stake presidency tried to order me to write about an upcoming Choir event. It took me three tries to get him to understand that he was ordering me to directly advocate for the church, which was an ethical violation. I didn't even have a chance to get into the implications of him, as a member of the stake presidency, trying to tell me what to write.

After that, it was about three years before I even *tried* to bring up anything religious outside of reviewing religious-themed entertainment materials. 

At the end of 2018, we got a new stake presidency in. This, in turn, led to my being released and a whole new stake public affairs crew being brought in. I drafted a briefing document for the guy who was coming in, giving him a head's up on what the various media outlets within the stake were, some general guidelines about how to deal with them (with particular emphasis on finding out what their deadlines and lead times were), and handed it off to them. 

Yesterday I was going through old computer files, found the briefing, and felt inspired to update it. 

It turns out that we have a new stake public affairs person. 

It's the very same person who, as a member of the stake presidency, caused me so much grief several years ago. 

On one hand, I know that they're going to need the revised briefing document as a *lot* has changed locally.

On the other hand, given what happened the last time, I fear that they won't take me seriously or will try to boss me around again.

Thoughts?

Thanks.

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57 minutes ago, Ironhold said:

/snip/

On one hand, I know that they're going to need the revised briefing document as a *lot* has changed locally.

On the other hand, given what happened the last time, I fear that they won't take me seriously or will try to boss me around again.

Thoughts?

Thanks.

Pass along the info and hope for expect the best outcome. (go into it with a positive mindset)

If they don't take you seriously, that's on them and you did what you felt to do. If they try to boss you around, just set boundaries and ask that they be respected. Oh - also allow them the space to have changed/learned some things from the previous experience.

Edited by Manners Matter
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37 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

Sometimes people in church leadership don't understand that they are not in charge of non church things.   For example:  They are not in charge of the newspaper column. 

Well said. This is especially true when it comes to business. If a religious leader uses their authority to get you to give them money for something non church related, it’s almost always a red flag. Same thing here. 

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4 hours ago, Ironhold said:

When I tried to inform them that because of the involved lead times I had a mere 72 hours to dash out a replacement column, one of the stake presidency tried to order me to write about an upcoming Choir event. It took me three tries to get him to understand that he was ordering me to directly advocate for the church, which was an ethical violation.
...
It turns out that we have a new stake public affairs person. 

It's the very same person who, as a member of the stake presidency, caused me so much grief several years ago. 

On one hand, I know that they're going to need the revised briefing document as a *lot* has changed locally.

On the other hand, given what happened the last time, I fear that they won't take me seriously or will try to boss me around again.

Do I understand correctly, that nobody has asked you to revise this document, and you are doing it in order to help the stake public affairs folks understand the things they need to understand, to do a good job?  You have much information that will be a huge blessing to anyone trying to interface with media outlets?  And you wonder if anyone will care, value your efforts, or even take the time to understand what you're doing?

Because if that's what you are saying, I can certainly feel for you.  It's like a doctor is trying to help the stake's amateur surgery department, but the folks called to do the surgeries don't understand the difference between a scalpel and a hacksaw, and they may or may not even think you're important enough to listen to.

I suppose my advice would look like this: It's admirable that you're willing to use your skills and knowledge to try to help others succeed in the church.  If they don't/won't value your efforts, that's on them.  If they ask you to do things you can't do, you can give the short answer "no", and offer the longer answer if they want to hear it.  If they don't want to hear it, that's on them. If they don't understand, and decide to throw furrowed eyebrow looks at you and think you're the problem, that's on them.  

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IF you work for a non-member, tell them that the media that you work for is NOT member owned media.  They need to treat it as such.

If you are nice, you may allow them the opportunity to review material, but make them absolutely aware that non-members do not take it nicely when members try to dictate what they can or cannot do. 

It can turn into BAD PR for the Church if members try to force non-members (especially non-member media, I've seen it turn nasty on occasion) to say things which the non-members have no desire to say.  In many instances it can turn out the exact opposite due to these conflicts. 

It is better to play nice than not.  If that doesn't work, let them do any PR with the appropriate people at your news agency.  Let them work it out.  If that happens to be you, then tell them that in your position you are working for a non-member agency.  They cannot treat you simply as a subordinate, as in this position you represent another group.  You can be willing to work with them, but you also need to retain your job and perspective. 

Personally, I'd be VERY friendly to the church, BUT, that is not always possible in a job.  You need to do what you feel is best to keep your job and your membership.

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It seems peculiar to me that you’d be inspired to update it, but not to share it.  Could the Lord want you to have it because you may need it for professional reasons, or because you may be about to be re-called to that position?

I dunno . . . I can understand not wanting to have one's “baby” disregarded or blown off by some churl, but there must have been a reason the Lord wanted the document updated.

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2 hours ago, Backroads said:

Perhaps I'm not understanding the situation, but this seems like two unrelated things. Did you owe something to the stake in your career?

The guy who is currently stake public affairs was previously in the stake presidency. 

When he *was* in the stake presidency, he made my life miserable because he assumed he could just order me to make things happen. 

So even though this is information he needs to know, there's a *real* prospect he won't accept it from me, let alone listen while I explain it. 

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General note for anyone reading this thread: 

 

Entertainment media may make it seem like newspapers can just "stop the presses" if something big enough comes along, but that's not how it works. 

Most smaller newspapers no longer own their own presses, instead hiring time out on the presses of a larger newspaper. Because of this arrangement, the smaller newspaper must dance to the bigger newspaper's tune when it comes to final deadlines for printing. 

Thus we can have a situation where a newspaper's final deadline is, say, noon for the next day's edition, as the larger paper will be printing the smaller paper's full run at 3 PM so that they can get it out of the way before starting their print run. 

If there's a holiday coming up, the smaller newspaper's next print run can literally be printed days in advance so that the larger printer can maintain its own holiday schedule.

For example, the flagship newspaper I'm with publishes every Tuesday and Friday. But the Black Friday edition of the paper, that is the paper that comes out the Friday after Thanksgiving, is actually printed Wednesday evening so that the printer can have Thursday afternoon off. 

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My dad used to work as a proofreader for the Tribune.  I remember he took me to his work when I was 10 - it was fascinating!  Both the Tribune and the Deseret News came off the same press, which was a massively complicated series of machines the size of several houses.

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On 2/11/2022 at 1:17 PM, Ironhold said:

General note for anyone reading this thread: 

 

Entertainment media may make it seem like newspapers can just "stop the presses" if something big enough comes along, but that's not how it works. 

Most smaller newspapers no longer own their own presses, instead hiring time out on the presses of a larger newspaper. Because of this arrangement, the smaller newspaper must dance to the bigger newspaper's tune when it comes to final deadlines for printing. 

Thus we can have a situation where a newspaper's final deadline is, say, noon for the next day's edition, as the larger paper will be printing the smaller paper's full run at 3 PM so that they can get it out of the way before starting their print run. 

If there's a holiday coming up, the smaller newspaper's next print run can literally be printed days in advance so that the larger printer can maintain its own holiday schedule.

For example, the flagship newspaper I'm with publishes every Tuesday and Friday. But the Black Friday edition of the paper, that is the paper that comes out the Friday after Thanksgiving, is actually printed Wednesday evening so that the printer can have Thursday afternoon off. 

 

I have run things for the university in the Newspapers locally at times.  I'm not sure of their timelines, but for anything we want to include they want the ad completed to them 2 weeks prior to them running it in the paper.

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20 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

 

I have run things for the university in the Newspapers locally at times.  I'm not sure of their timelines, but for anything we want to include they want the ad completed to them 2 weeks prior to them running it in the paper.

It’s amazing how things have changed in that industry, isn’t it? I’m a big news junkie so I love not having to wait for breaking news. Good riddance to the “Stop the presses!” days. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I may be misunderstanding the OP but to be overly blunt, you've been released.  Drop it and move on.

This may be a bit callous, but what I've learned is when released on good or not-so-good terms is to give an exit briefing if wanted, then take the attitude of "not my issue."  Church members seems to refuse to let go of responsibilities after a release and pile on the guilt or anger when things don't go as they feel it should go. It is the responsibility of the new person to work out the issues and reach out for help where they feel they need to.  If they don't reach out to you, then let it be.

Don't be offended or hurt, just move on.  The over-used adage "the most consistent thing about this church is change" still holds true and you are a part of that change.  If you have a new assignment or calling then turn your energy towards that.  If you don't, then continue to work on being a better christian and servant to the Lord.

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