Journalists Press NCAA for Better Access to College Sports

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 3.49.05 PMThe American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) is asking members and friends to step up the pressure on the NCAA and on college presidents to do something about the way journalists are being treated at sporting events.

The journalists say they are being pushed further away from the action, they are having trouble getting credentials and social media are having an even tougher time.

Read this letter to the NCAA urging the NCAA to sit down and talk about the matter, which ASNE says has not gotten a response.


Police Ask Journalists to Stop Tweeting About Dorner Manhunt

While bullets were still flying between police and police killer Christopher Dorner, the San Bernardino DA issued this request:

While some media did comply, others didn’t because they could not get a clear answer for the reason behind the request. For example, was there some reason to believe Twitter posts were more dangerous than the live police and radio coverage underway?

KPCC Public Radio collected these posts:
Screen shot 2013-02-13 at 10.34.31 AMScreen shot 2013-02-13 at 10.34.43 AMScreen shot 2013-02-13 at 10.35.07 AM

The Orange County Register said that was not the only press/police clash Tuesday:

First, as helicopters circled above the sight of the standoff between Dorner and law enforcement, officials asked news helicopters to move farther from the scene. Second, about the time the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office sent a message on Twitter saying, “The sheriff has asked all members of the press to stop tweeting immediately. It is hindering officer safety.” A few hours later, the tweet was removed.

Disagreements between press and police over access to crime scenes are common, but very few draw as much public attention as the Dorner case did. Such clashes are to be expected when two organizations come into the same workspace with very different goals. In fact, many reporters carry laminated cards citing the California law that permits press access to help press their case in such instances.

News agencies responded differently to Tuesday’s requests. News helicopters voluntarily moved farther from the scene of the shootout before they were officially banned from within five miles of the cabin. Both KCBS/2 and sister station KCAL/9 complied with the no-tweeting request, although they did not pause in the rest of their coverage. The Press-Enterprise in Riverside said it would stop tweeting, then later clarified to say “We are going to tweet broad, non-tactical details, as per the San Bernardino DA’s request.” Most other news organizations simply ignored the request.

The result was a fountain of Twitter messages accusing law enforcement trying to hide information and the press of playing into their hands. Typical was a tweet from user @HellaBootsy, who wrote, “so because the police ordered the press away from the scene, we’ll never know if #dorner tried to surrender.”

Later, Dorner’s death in the cabin was confirmed by unnamed authorities and widely reported by news organizations, and then withdrawn, an act that merely inflamed the suspicious.

See this story from

An Animated Version of Esquire’s Bin Laden “Shooter” Story

The Center for Investigative Reporting has produced a video, animated version of the hottest story of the week, Esquire’s “The Shooter” story. It is a first-person accounting from the man who shot Osama bin Laden. (WARNING: contains extremely graphic NSFW language) but this piece points us to a different way to tell what normally would be a seven page print piece.

-How does the animation change your understanding of the story compared to text?
-How does the narrator’s tone, pace and emphasis fit with your own interpretation when you read the Esquire story?
-How did the music affect your understanding of the story?

NOTE:Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 2.01.15 PM Stars and Stripes is highly critical of the Esquire story, saying it does not understand what benefits are available to “the shooter” and others.

Esquire, stung by Stars and Stripes, now says
the online version is not as complete as the printed version and made and error of omission by not accurately reporting the benefits that are due the “shooter.”

College Newspaper Bans E-Mail Interviews

From USF Oracle:Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 3.56.23 PM

We’ve seen an increasing number of sources on campus requesting to conduct interviews via email, and in the interest of providing our readers with the most accurate version of the truth, The Oracle will no longer conduct interviews via email, with only extraordinary circumstances as exceptions to the rule.

We cannot provide the transparency and accountability we wish to if the information we provide you with is first vetted and filtered through layers of spokespeople, or answered by a source at the other end of a computer with time to type, delete and retype a response.

The Oracle has until now used email interviews as a last resort, but the increasing number of sources demanding all questions be emailed poses a difficult situation for us.

In the interest of telling fair and balanced stories, we hope to always provide our readers with as many different viewpoints as possible.

But as a newspaper, is it our job to provide readers with the truth, directly from the source — not from the strategically coordinated voices of public relations staff or prescreened e-mail answers.

We don’t think these responses provide our readers with the unvarnished truth, and we will no longer include them in our articles at the expense of compromising the integrity of the information we provide. University departments do not have one, centralized voice, but rather are made up of a multitude of diverse perspectives.

We believe by adopting this policy, we can come closer to presenting you with a picture as close to the actual truth as we can.

Social Media Flames Applebee’s Story

This is a lesson in the power of social media.  It may also be a lesson in the responsible use of social media, a lesson in privacy and in corporate use of social media.

A St. Louis minister touched it off when she scribbled a protest on a restaurant bill, saying she gives 10% to God who why should she be paying an 18% tip to a waitress?

applebees reciept

Another server saw the receipt and took a picture of it.  She posted it on  The next day the pastor heard the posting had gone red-hot viral and complained to the restaurant.  Applebees fired the waitress who posted the photo.

Then the firing story went viral and all hell broke loose.  Reddit, Twitter and Facebook pages were flooded with cries to re-hire the waitress and Applebees has repeatedly tried to explain itself only digging deeper and deeper holes.

Here is a detailed and documented step-by-step of how this story has unfolded (so far.)  It is a great case study for :

-students to consider the responsible use of social media, especially where privacy is an issue

-employers who have or should have a clear standard for employee use of social media

-companies who have to be nimble in responding to a fast spreading viral campaign