My Top 10 Blogs of 2019
We're likely only a week or so away from those year-end reviews and votes for the top stories of 2019. Justin Trudeau must be the favourite to be named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year.
You could probably give the award to the Prime Minister every year, but this was an exceptional year for our PM. He won an election, went through the SNC-Lavalin scandal, had infamous splits with cabinet ministers like Jody Wilson-Raybould and then there was the blackface scandal, talking behind Trump's back and another ethics violation to boot.
The PM took centre stage in one of my top blogs of the year and shared the spotlight in another. Here are my top blogs of the year counted down, based on the number of views each blog got in 2019.
10. Twitter, Name Calling and Alberta Politics - December 11
Last week’s blog checks in at number 10 and there’s an interesting story behind it.
I had most of the blog written before leaving for Calgary and a client’s Christmas party on December 7. I wrote about the Twitter bickering going on between provincial and municipal politicians. As it turned out, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi spoke at the client’s Christmas party and one of the things he talked about was the nastiness in politics these days and how everyone needs to put aside the fighting and do what’s best. Here here.
9. What's Wrong With People? - September 18
On a similar note, early in the federal election campaign I noticed how nasty social media conversations about the election had quickly become, especially on Twitter. Gone are the days of people having respectful conversations about politics. If somebody doesn’t agree with your opinion, you automatically resort to name calling, or worse it seems.
It wasn’t just in social media though. People with complaints about the service they’re receiving from a company to others berating volunteers for the job they’re doing. People need to do better.
8. When a News Conference Goes Wrong - July 31
In July, the RCMP in Edmonton held a news conference to apologize to the family of a woman who had disappeared and was eventually found dead. Initially, the Mounties didn’t place a lot of importance on her disappearance and the lack of an early full-scale investigation may be why they still haven’t charged anyone with Amber Tuccaro’s death.
At the news conference, the main Mountie spokesperson had to leave before Amber’s family was finished speaking to the media. Rule #1 when you call a news conference is make sure you have enough time to get the job done.
7. Why Sarah Sanders Lied to the Media - April 24
One of the tidbits of information that came out of the Mueller Report was White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders admitting she lied to the news media when she said “a countless number” of FBI agents had contacted her after President Trump fired James Comey as Director of the FBI.
Not that anyone should be surprised it was confirmed Sanders had lied, but it was interesting to see her admit to it. At year’s end, Sanders is working elsewhere and her predecessor, Sean Spicer lasted for weeks longer than he should have on Dancing With the Stars.
6. Why Justin Trudeau Still Needs Media Training - May 22
When the SNC-Lavalin scandal first broke, Trudeau needed to explain himself. He didn’t do well. I wrote that for a person who has answered so many questions from the media in high pressure situations for so long, he doesn’t do it very well.
Trudeau still has too many stumbles and hesitations when he answers questions from the media. Later in the year, his answer to a reporter’s question about what his family is doing to reduce the amount of plastic it uses was a Hall of Fame -worthy bad response.
5. Purge the Potted Plants - March 27
Early in the provincial election campaign in Alberta I noticed how all parties, especially the NDP were using “potted plants” at news conferences and media photo opps. Potted plants is a term that’s used for planting people behind politicians speaking from behind a podium.
Judging from the response I got from a lot of you, you’re tired of seeing potted plants too.
I’ve read the Edmonton Journal for decades. I started reading it every day when I was about 13 years old. Like every other newspaper in the country, it’s gone through wave after wave of major changes.
In this blog I looked at some of the good things the newspaper is doing and also some of the problems, as it continues to fall short of what it used to be.
3. In Due Course - June 5
I always marvel at how rookie cabinet ministers get into trouble with the news media not long after being appointed. I would send all cabinet ministers to media training as soon as they’re appointed. Like on Day 1.
This blog was about Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro, who stuck to his talking points during a media scrum and set a record for using the term “In due course” in the process.
2. Rating Jason Kenney's Media Skills - July 3
Last year I rated the media skills of Justin Trudeau, then Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and the Mayors of Edmonton and Calgary Don Iveson and Naheed Nenshi.
After Kenney won the Alberta election, I rated how he handled questions from the media. Spoiler alert: I gave him an A.
1. Stupid Airline Tricks - July 24
My wife and I had our 35th anniversary this summer and to celebrate we went to Saint Lucia. Our departure was delayed a bit because three people tried to cram suitcases bigger than Buicks into the overhead compartments and eventually had to be stowed.
While laying around the pool in Saint Lucia I came up with my top five things that fellow flyers do that irritate me. I could have easily had 20. Feels like I can do a follow-up blog on my next trip.
This will be my last blog until early in the new year, so Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families. Thanks for reading.