Sunday, December 23, 2007

PSE&G receives former journalism luminary

The Politicker (formerly PoliticsNJ) wrote about how Trenton GOP publicist Mike Jennings, among others, are losing their jobs. Jennings is going to PSE&G.

I vividly recall when Jennings got the GOP job. He was working for the Trenton Times a few years ago, as the Statehouse Bureau chief. I had referred a story over to Peter Callas, the managing editor of the Trenton Times, about a potential political conflict-of-interest matter involving at least one Monmouth legislator and the Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station situation. Mr. Callas, an editor of great repute in this state, referred the story over to Mr. Jennings.

I gave Jennings the readers' digest version of the story and, very motivated about "getting down to the tough questions with the GOP" after extensive interviews with the former Aberdeen manager, Mark Coren, he said he was going to head off to interview the legislator involved to get his side of the story.

Mr. Jennings had stated his firm conviction a story was there. He had accessed ELEC reports involved in the matter, official communications in the train station matter and had made at least one visit from Trenton to Aberdeen about this issue. My understanding was he had his facts.

Maybe I was confused when he said he was interviewing the legislator, and the 'interview' was a job interview (when he was going to ask those "tough questions"). But, a few weeks after Mr. Jennings was going to get the legislator's side of the story, it was announced on that Mr. Jennings was accepting a job as spokesman for the GOP Senate Caucus (where the legislator was a member). I can only think it was an amazing interview -- transformative.

For example, that interview transformed Mr. Jennings from a reporter with a lot of credibility with me, to someone with not a lot of it. The story got shelved, by and large, and Mr. Jennings got his job. I was acquainted with him during this process, and it is really interesting how, at the outset of the story he never said he was interviewing with the Senate GOP Caucus for a job (while doing a story about one of its members). You'd think it would have come up.

Merry Christmas to Mike Jennings and all the great people who have worked so hard to give Jersey the reputation it so richly deserves.

Click on the headline to go to the Politicker story with Mr. Jennings in it.

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