Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ensuring the Coverage Is "Right"

At our community newspapers, we often experience interference by public information officers or city officials. Some of the most egregious examples:

. City PIO who told us she felt that as a professional courtesy, our
reporter covering her city should call her each month (we're monthlies) and
tell her what she was working on for that issue.

. Another city that had a policy that our reporter could not talk to
any city employees directly. Instead, she had to submit her questions by
email. The PIO would then call or email her back with responses. If
follow-up was needed, she had to go through the same process again.

. In another city, city officials didn't like the way a reporter was
covering their city. She did not get anything wrong but they said she wasn't
positive enough. Called publisher in to complain and to get her replaced. We
declined, but in the end, had to reassign her because they absolutely
refused to talk to her. (That city does not have a PIO.) In the same city, after a replacement was hired, mayor asked that the new
person be fired (there had been absolutely no problems with her) and replace
her with another applicant they "liked better." We declined to follow their
suggestion. We found out later the applicant they liked was an employee of
the PR firm the city had hired to do a branding campaign.

Linda Petersen
Managing Editor
The Valley Journals
Riverton, Utah

1 comment:

  1. Didn't realize politics can be that bad. Terrible. "Not positive enough," well, that's not her fault.


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