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Mike Gonzalez Public Relations Tips


                                                        Mike Gonzalez BIO:

Born and Raised in Miami, Florida, Attended NC State University, Grad School at University of Missouri School of Journalism. Started in reporting in Columbia, MO and finished my TV career in Phoenix in 2020. Started at Franklin PUD as Government Affairs Director and Public Relations Director in Jan. of 2020. Began with the City of Pasco in June of 2021 as Economic Development Manager.

Contact:, Cell 509-850-4748.

My video work



1.   From a community outreach perspective, what are the characteristics of the larger subcultures here in the Greater Tri-City Region, and what kind of cultural obstacles have you or  organizations had to overcome for effective outreach? – Michael, we’ll start with you.


My lens = Grew up in Miami, Florida, 20 years in News -spent my life trying to be unbiased – so I’ve always had to be very careful in my use of language, 12 years of writing for Hispanic Food Network blog, Energy Executive and Economic Development Manager.


1.Tri-Cities has complex subcultures.

2.Predominant are Hispanic & White.  

3.Those can be analyzed into sub categories: Ethnic and socio economic.


·     Hispanic:

o   First Generation Hispanic, Older and are more traditional in their communication consumption…Spanish is their primary language. Very hands on. Like face to face contact. Like using cash.

·      2nd Generation Hispanics Between 30-50 years old, Educated, English is their primary use language, Bilingual, Consumption of media is primarily in English but will consume Spanish language media, very close with extended family, very proud of their Mexican heritage and close ties to their states in Mexico,

·      3rd Generation Hispanic, 29 and younger, English is primary language, majority don’t know Spanish, strong ties to culture and nostalgia to Hispanic and Mexican heritage. Consume all media in English, heavy users of digital.




·      White/Hispanic Highly Educated


·      White/Hispanic Rural Blue Collar



Obstacles we’ve faced?

·      Language barriers English/Spanish


·      Cultural competence (Know our audience is primarily from Mexico 60 percent from Colima)

·      Make sure you have someone in house that knows how your audience speaks.

·      My training always forces me to look at my audience…who must know your audience. (Research)


·      City of Pasco we have to know who we’re talking with. (60 percent from Colima

·      In Pasco our audience is really two-fold.


·      English speaking & English as a second language. So, we go into a messaging campaign with that mind.

·      We have to be culturally competent and realize that our Spanish language message is going out to a primarily Mexican audience.




1.     Get a bilingual expert for your agency or organization

2.     Become culturally competent – because there’s many types of Hispanics.




 Describe the high-level strategy of your organizations for outreach to these subcultures? – Mike, we’ll start with you.




I was hired to reshape the image of Pasco and really showcase the great things happening, dispel some misinformation about our city and then take an inclusive approach to marketing our downtown core and surrounding areas. So how did I do that?


We hear about implicit bias a lot. I like to call it cultural assumptions. Bias is too strong of a word. I also know, through my journalism training, everyone sees the world through their own lens, based on their life experiences, surroundings, community, family, politics, and region. I think a lot of people like to equate bias with racism and I think that isn’t the truth.


How I’m working to change the image of Pasco?


1.     Be honest with yourself and your organization about who you are. I played for Ray Tanner at NC State, he went onto U of South Carolina. He’s considered one of the greatest College Baseball coaches in history. He always said Perception is Reality. So how can you change that to your favor?

2.     (Research)My first month I spent exhaustive hours on the phone and in person visits to really find out what is the outside perception of Pasco was?

3.     (Talk about uncomfortable subjects) One thing I found, many felt like the marketing efforts for downtown felt uncomfortable “ if I’m not from Mexico or a Spanish speaker”

4.     (Are you customers getting value?)There was also a feeling from business owners that we weren’t engaged with them or weren’t providing marketing and useful support service.

5.     (Take Action) I formed the Pasco Business Advisory Council

6.     Content Creation Plan, I am also making sure our marketing efforts take a 3 prong approach utilizing the City’s platforms, DPDA’S and Farmers Market.

7.     (Market in English) Taking a more inclusive approach.

8.     Then content is in English even though we’re talking about places like Dress shops, Mexican restaurants and grocery stores.

9.     (Showcasing Hispanic Businesses in English) I’m showing that a diverse customer base frequents places like Vinny’s.

10.(Come up with realistic production schedule)Consistency is the key and making sure we’re highlighting a diverse business base.

11.Very strategic in the language I use. I’m subtly calling downtown core the International District.

12.Making sure I talk about the great things that are happening downtown.


What are some of the existing bridges and potential barriers for collaboration between these subcultures in the Tri-Cities? – 


I think there is a feeling amongst some Hispanics they aren’t given priority politically, socially and economically. I have seen that in the news business and in the City of Pasco job. Some scars from the Antonio Zambrano shooting still exist. There’s certainly feelings in our downtown core that the City hasn’t paid as much attention to its economic development than say, West Pasco. For me it’s all about visibility, communication and action. I approach it like a journalist: identify the issue, get the information I need, then come up with action items and come up with a result.


Talking strategy and tactics, can you give us examples of how you've overcome these barriers and facilitated collaboration between these groups? –



1 Identify feelings through in person visits. 2. Identifying where we can see immediate results (garbage cans, street sweeping, dumpsters, 3. working on homeless action plan, 4. Creating content consistently that puts Pasco in positive light. 5 .tackling parking issues and helping market our long standing business in the core. Getting our Downtown Pasco Development Authority to take a leadership role in downtown issues.


Conversely, do you have examples of a failed initiative to address these obstacles? Would you be willing to share the lessons learned? –

I haven’t had any real failures. I think you avoid those with making sure you’re being culturally competent. If you try and please everyone, you please no one. So just make sure your marketing efforts are authentic and you’re not trying to push too much in one direction.  I think we are looking closer at how we communicate on our social media platforms, especially when it comes to our Police Dept. We have recently discussed perhaps focusing more on the positive things PD is doing rather than just catching and arresting folks. The feedback we’ve gotten is it’s send the message that Pasco is a dangerous place and we don’t want that.


1.          Mike, this one is for you because of your Hispanic outreach experience with Franklin PUD, as well as your current role. That said, Michael, please feel free to add on. Mike, a Latina California assembly woman was recently quoted as saying the term “Latinx” was something she sees, quote, “a lot of white progressives use.”  Also, a now 2-year-old Pew Survey found that only 25% of those who identify as Latino had heard the term “Latinx,” and 80% of them preferred not to use it. Conventional wisdom out there says to use what a culture is most comfortable with. Here in the Tri-Cities, what term would you recommend we use for general Hispanic or Latino audiences, and why?   


                        The Hispanic vs. Latino Debate & Latinx

Hispanics derive their origins from Spain and the Iberia Peninsula. Where Latinos a made up of people from the Caribbean, Mexico and South Americans, who in many cases have Indian-Indigenous blood. Latinx is used by just 3 percent of those who identify as Hispanic in the census. I would personally stay out of this fight. Some will argue that all Hispanics, Latinos and Latinx can trace their roots to Spain. Others will argue that Latinos fought with Spaniards and they are not a part of their race. To me the more important thing to be is culturally competent. That means knowing that a Cuban doesn’t make tamales for Christmas, that is something that’s done in Mexican culture. Puerto Ricans love Pastelles. Salvadorans like Pappusas and Venezuelans are the ones who love Arepas.



                       HOW TO GET YOUR MESSAGE IN LOCAL MEDIA?


·      Make sure you get to know the reporters in your area.


·      Stop saying that no one watches local news or never reads the papers. There is an audience for that the power of local television news is in their web articles they could share it on their social media platforms.


·      Take a look at KEPR’S Facebook page, it has more than 100,000 followers, it’s really active and engagement is incredible. Tri-City Herald has more than 70,000 followers.  These social media pages link back to their website and could be a conduit for your message.


·      Timing for those you represent (If you’re a PR Firm that represents a dentist, you know at Easter and Halloween kids are eating candy) If you represent a fitness professional offer that person as the expert on maintaining your weight during the holidays. If you represent a restaurant, offer that person for holiday cooking tips. You’ll have to provide some work though.


·      Offer interviews through Zoom to make it easier for reporters.


·      Get to know the Weekend reporters at all three stations and at the Tri-City Herald. They are desperate for news during those time slots.


·      Make sure it’s short. Give me the WHY in the first link of your release. Then who, what, where, when!


·      Provide pictures and videos and a release with quotes built in from your clients.


·      Introduce yourselves to the news directors and the key players in your market


·      Create a mailing list with your blog on it with all the local and regional media outlets you never know who’s going to pick it up


·      Send press releases with information in body and an attachment





Jana Gray

Tom Y

Annette Cary 509-416-6136

Wendy Culverwell Tri-Cities Journal of Business






If you’re the owner of your firm, then get out there and sell your clients. You have the social media platforms and the expertise to do this. Utilize your best skill sets and leverage those for your clients. If you’re a great writer, start writing articles for your clients, post them to your social media platforms and tag the media outlets and reporters in the region.


Markertek, great place to buy video and audio equipment


Services after sale make sure you send a follow up email that also gives you an opportunity to push your next story. ( Great place to start your own podcast)


Create Zoom podcasts, buy the pro version for tools like sharing to Facebook Live events.


Get a teleprompter app


Learn how to shoot with your iPhone or your mobile device.

 Learn an editing program. You can set up and then tire platform for free. Facebook Instagram Twitter. LinkedIn…Blogspot is a free website.


That integrates with your YouTube channel. And your Google platforms. People are not looking for fancy these days there’s simply looking for good content and takeaways that they can get from you the expert




Consistency is key…set a goal on an actual day. Every Tuesday or Wednesday we’ll have an article out. And a monthly goal (4 a month)


Set realistic goals


Quality over quantity.


Own a particular social media platform. I think we get thinking that we have to be an expert at every new social media platform. You can integrate your platforms. I would suggest Hootsuite




Best advice is Keep it simple, trust your skills and you're the expert!




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