The follow-up press conference was the only Newsom held last week. Last Monday, Newsom announced “good news” that the number of cases in California had decreased by 21 percent. But that message was undermined in the following days when county health officials said the data reporting issues had caused too few.
Peter Ragone, who was the mayor of Newsom in San Francisco and a former adviser to both Cuomo and New York mayor Bill de Blasio, said the treacherous political landscape facing Newsom – and other blue state leaders something that we have seen in modern times is political times. ”
“At the same time, you have a pandemic, a major economic crisis, major social protests” and unrest in cities across the state regarding Black Lives Matter, he said, while at the same time facing “the most powerful government in the world – it is hostile . “
Where Cuomo leaned in his candid, abrasive style to become a social media star in the early months of the pandemic, Newsom is more cerebral, more likely to respond ‘candidly’ at the beginning of an evasive answer.
“He’s not communicating clearly,” Stutzman said of Newsom. “He uses words that people don’t often use. He quotes statistics, which give a good idea of what’s going on, and it can inspire confidence, but should a governor or president be the one who recites the daily statistics? “
Still, Cook praised the detail-oriented delivery from both governors, saying their personal styles matched their respective audiences.
“Cuomo has more emotion, he’s a bit more of an everyday person, and Newsom is a bit of a tech CEO, he looks good, he looks good, he looks good and he looks a bit more relaxed than someone like Cuomo, “Cook said.” It’s no different in that respect from the quintessential New Yorker versus the quintessential Californian. “
Given the risk of saying something too definitive that may need to be reduced or contradicted by its own administrative officers, such as Florida Government Ron DeSantisGovernors may want to tend to be boring and repetitive, Cook said.
“No one wants to see those clips where they said something different a month ago than they do now,” he said. “You have to have a consistent message over time to gain their credibility and trust, and sometimes that message consistency is boring.”
Newsom has not written his subjects or prepared speeches on the teleprompter for the sessions – a risky move from any public official, insiders say.
His communications director, Nathan Click, said the governor believes it is important to speak directly to Californians, “because so much of this challenge is able to let people know exactly what is happening – and how to address and fix it” – such as when he keeps insisting on wearing masks and social distance.
Click said the volume and intensity of the many crises on a daily basis were daunting – and multiplied by about 200 press releases entering his office every day.
The only governor in memory with four children under the age of 11 – his youngest, the Dutch, is 3 – Newsom ‘wakes up very early,’ said Click, often starting to send emails to as early as 6 a.m. executives
Click said Newsom begins telephone briefings every day at 8 a.m. from his office in the Capitol State, beginning with the heads of the Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Public Health, Chief of Staff Ann O’Leary and Cabinet Secretary Ana Matosantos. An hour later, he has a broader appeal with heads of other agencies asking many questions.
“He’s a detailed person who likes to have a complete overview of what’s really happening – and get real-time updates,” said Click.
From these briefings, Newsom develops a message for its press conferences: “What are we trying to improve, what are we trying to solve, what are we saying we are trying to address,” said Click, or the particular segments of employees who most or certain areas such as nursing homes or the Central Valley.
Phil Trounstine, the former communications director for Governor Gray Davis, said Newsom’s detailed, data-driven performances panicked citizens and that most voters appreciate them.
But as Newsom enters the fifth month of the crisis, Trounstine said the governor may want to bring it back, if only to better focus his message – and keep his strength. “If I were to advise the governor on communications, I would suggest that he take no more than about 15 minutes – that he has a clearly concise point that he wants to make it … back up with a image, takes a few questions, ” he said. “And then out and back to work.”
Click defended the press conferences as a critical way for Newsom to communicate with residents, citing a web audience of several thousand and an ultimate audience of “over a million” thanks to radio and TV stations continuing the live briefings. “We still have almost every TV channel in California that picks it up live,” he said. “It is quite amazing.”
In line with those numbers, communication experts give Newsom relatively high marks for his social media presence and for insisting on the double message of staying at home and wearing masks when outside. He has consistently enlisted the help of celebrities, such as Bill Nye, who has one hand wash video, and Sarah Silverman, who urged people follow the lead of the “hot governor” and wear a mask.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who appointed Newsom his first political post as parking and traffic commissioner in San Francisco in 1996 – and hired him as supervisor in San Francisco a year later – said his former protégé may have been some challenging times as a communicator.
But Brown said critics may hold Newsom – one of the country’s most eminent governors – to standards that are daunting to most elected officials. In the daily challenges of work, “sometimes, [they] become distracted or lazy, or they’re not that creative, ” said Brown, who was the longest-running speaker of the California Assembly in an era before the deadline limits.
But “Gavin is a matinee idol,” he said. ‘He is coming back.’