Speechwriters: You want us on that wall

Wanted: An advocate for speechwriters who will set up a Google News search for “speechwriting and budget” and be ready to go on the attack every time a story comes in.

The latest job for this Speechwriting Sentry would have come last Thursday, when Orlando’s Sun-Sentinel gave space to a trumped-up travesty: Seems a communications firm received the whopping total of $700 to write four speeches for the mayor of Delray Beach, Fla. (It’s a travesty all right: One imagines a sweatshop of third graders laboring away on the speeches under the guise of handwriting practice.)

For just such occasions, the Speechwriting Sentry would have in a speed-holster a customizable form-letter to the editor, making these easy points:

1. An uncommunicative government is a bad government.

2. Leaders of embattled government agencies don’t need to spend days and weeks writing speeches about their troubles, they need to be resolving the troubles.

3. The average cost of a 20-minute corporate speech is $5,000-$10,000, so the government agency got a huge bargain.

The operative sound bite is the old (but good) saw that communication consultant Shel Holtz employs when organizations contemplate cutting communication: When the ship is sinking, you don’t throw the radio overboard.

Maybe Vital Speeches of the Day should serve as this sentry. If not us, then who?

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