Mayor de Blasio Shifts His Press Strategy

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the Heavenly Visions Church in the Bronx Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the Heavenly Visions Church in the Bronx on Sunday, March 9, 2014. Credit: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio after delivering remarks at a Bronx church. (Photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to by trying to turn a new leaf with the city’s frustrated political press corps, shaking up his press strategy with a rare round of outreach this week.

Mr. de Blasio’s schedule today includes a blitz of face time with local reporters. First, he’ll tape a set of interviews with local television stations in the Governor’s Room of City Hall. This will be followed by a roundtable with radio reporters and then another roundtable with City Hall bureau chiefs of the city’s papers. The mayor has been criticized in the past for the amount of time he’s spent filming national television hits instead of local spots.

Mr. de Blasio’s team has also scheduled a reception at Gracie Mansion this Friday evening, where the city’s press corps will have the chance to mingle with the mayor’s press office and senior City Hall staffers. (“This invitation is non-transferable and the event, ironically, is off-the-record,” the invitation notes.)

The outreach comes after the Daily News reported this weekend that Mr. de Blasio “is retooling and expanding his communications team, hiring speech writers, additional digital press aides — and a director to oversee the entire operation” three months into his tenure. Mr. de Blasio’s team has already had conversations with several possible contenders, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.

While Mr. de Blasio’s agenda has moved forward at a steady clip, he has often been mired by seemingly self-inflicted missteps, including a call inquiring about a bishop friend facing a night in jail and a battle over charter school co-locations. At one point, the mayor stormed out of a press conference after his motorcade was caught speeding through stop signs–angering reporters and giving the story legs it might otherwise have lost. Another sticking point: the mayor’s constant tardiness to events.

Some have blamed the frustration for his lackluster poll numbers.

The mayor’s office, ironically, did not respond to a request for comment about what had sparked this week’s events.