Parallel Universe

The idea that media can be managed has spawned an entire industry.

The idea that media can be managed is fairly amusing to most news people I know, who refuse to be managed (except by the newsroom boss, of course).

Does the term “free speech” ring a bell?

Today in the Dade County Courthouse, I actually had an employee for the Department of Children & Families tell me to stop talking to a private attorney opposing the state on a case I’m covering. Not that it was any of her business, but that attorney had stopped to tell me she liked my suit, and then was perfectly willing to clarify some of her client’s positions for me.

I’m thinking, that’s due diligence. The state employee was no doubt thinking that I was getting the wrong side of the story.

I (respectfully) explained that I can engage in conversation with anyone I darn well want (and had done so with her hours before!). The rest of the rant I saved for here.

Who ran amok with the notion that information, video images should be carefully crafted, managed, spun – to achieve a desirable message?

I call that advertising (which, by the way, in its proper form, funds our salaries.) But the news is – what it is. And a conscientious news gatherer always looks beyond the “talking points” and spins, confirms and balances information.

Today was certainly not the first time someone tried to manage my work.
There was the police supervisor who asked me to edit out something an officer said on camera because it might make the department look careless. There was the p.r. guy who arranged a tour I didn’t want, to put off an interview that I did want.
And oh so many more …

Sure, there are reporters who participate in the “sell” because it’s easy, because it makes them friends, whatever. Eventually they lose credibility, I think (I hope).

Me, I won’t be managed.

My husband calls it my rebellious streak.

I prefer to just think of it as reporting.

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