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Wirral councillors learn how to be media savvy
A special training session to teach councillors how to become media-savvy has been slammed as a waste of time and money.
All 66 members of the council were invited to a five-hour media training class at The Lauries Centre in Birkenhead today to hear a presentation by a specially-invited consultant.
Topics covered included ‘How to avoid the perils of the social media and maximise opportunities with TV, radio and newspapers;’ ‘what not to tweet’ and ‘what you need to know before saying yes to a media interview.’
Tory councillor Leah Fraser made it clear she would not be attending.
She said: “I think it’s a waste of time and money considering the current dire straits of the council’s budget.
"Apart from the consultant’s fee for the sessions there will be the cost of providing refreshments for all the councillors as the programme will last from 3pm to 8pm.
“If councillors don’t like seeing their comments in print they should keep quiet.
“Rather than having media training councillors should be trained in financial matters. If this had been introduced earlier Wirral Council would not be in the mess it finds itself today.”
Council leader Phil Davies insisted that the training sessions had all-party support on Wirral Council.
He commented: “This is one of a series of courses to enable elected members to deal with the media.
“Increasingly we live in an age where Press and TV are looking for comments and reactions from local politicians about events and news stories. We want elected members to respond effectively to the demands of the media.”
Councillor Davies said he was not aware of the cost of the event but it “would not be a huge amount.”
He added: “It is important that elected members are properly trained in these matters. These sessions will provide them with the skills they need.”