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Rhonda Key, Riverview Gardens, Gives Worst Interview Ever

From the Worst PR Ever files:

Rhonda Key, co-superintendent, Riverview Gardens school district in St. Louis needs to take some lessons in public relations. She agreed to be interviewed by Elliott Davis of KTVI, the St. Louis, Missouri Fox affiliate. But once Davis showed up, that's where the interview went downhill.

KTVI had received a viewer email tip that Riverview Gardens had spent thousands of dollars to send several teachers and administrators to the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development Conference in Los Angeles, California, which includes Goldie Hawn as part of the 2009 conference. So Davis wanted to find out who went and how much it cost.

I’d love to be able to embed the video here, but you’ll have to go to the KTVI website to see the just plain painful interview with Rhonda Key.

Davis, to Key, “What administrators are going on this trip?”

Kay: “Sir, a group of teachers are going on this trip.”

Davis, “But what administrators are going?”

Kay: “A group of teachers are going on this trip.”

It's like her interview instructions came from a shampoo bottle. Blather, rinse, repeat.

It only gets better. Kay seems to think that by using a different inflection – a group of teachers; a group of teachers – would make Davis go away. Then she finally expands on her answer.

“A group of teachers and educators are going on this trip. Are you still here? Dammit!"

It’s so sad to see a train wreck taking place, especially when the train doesn’t want to admit there’s an accident in the first place.

Who is going? Davis asked.

“A group of teachers and educators.”

Who are the teachers?

“A group of teachers. . .”

How much is this costing?

“A group of teachers. . .”

Finally, mercifully, Kay ended the interview. She wouldn’t answer any more questions, wouldn’t address Davis directly, other than to thank him for coming, blah blah blah.

Davis filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and found out the Riverview Gardens school district sent 10 teachers and 6 administrators to this conference, for a total cost of $30,148.01, despite all the financial troubles the district has been having.

I hope Goldie Hawn knows a lot about curriculum development.

Here’s a little PR hint for you. When you’re confronted by an investigative reporter, don’t hide from them or repeat the same stupid answer over and over. That only makes them suspicious and start digging like a hungry dog after a bone. Instead, answer the questions honestly and directly. You’ll spend one day in the news, rather than 5 or 6.

Guess who taught me that little piece of advice.

“A group of teachers. . .”

So, Rhonda, who is going to storm the school district building and mutiny against the leadership because of bad management and horrible financial practices?

“A group of teachers. . ."
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  1. OOPS! I have a feeling with current finances as they are, we will be seeing more and more of these interviews being conducted.

  2. I just hope the interviewees learn how to speak honestly and openly. This story wouldn't have had any legs if Rhonda had actually answered the questions. Instead, she makes it look like they're hiding something. Nothing makes a reporter dig into a story than a public official act like they're hiding something.


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