Interviewees Go Wild!

New York Daily News Headline: Mayor Bloomberg calls reporter ‘a disgrace’ for questioning rationale for third term run

The Mayor of New York City becomes visibly and publicly upset because he can’t manipulate the news media? This is an excellent real-world teaching anecdote for my J-news writing classes.

My students have encountered similar attempts at intimidation when, for example, they have interviewed professors who, for example, tell student journalists at the end of at the end of interviews that they want to see the article before it is published. There is a pecking order on campus, this and others, regardless of the espoused values of collegiality, shared goverances, et. al. I tell my students, QMfE, “You should tell them that they wouldn’t say that to a New York Times’ reporter. Tell them to contact me.” I also tell them don’t interview their favorite professors nor those with whom they are taking classes.

This will make for a good class discussion about who decides that an interview or a portion thereof, is off the record, not for attribution, a background-er. A long time ago, when I was a reporter for the Democratic & Chronicle in Rochester, I attended a conference organized by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. I was appalled how a number of young journalists from news media around the Rochester metropolitan area allowed the DA at the time, Lawrence Kurlander, to push them around about what they should and not do in the course of their reporting, especially about crimes. Too many journalists, I was learning through my experiences at my first newspaper, are wimps.

Anyway, according to the Huffington Post, the Mayor later apologized.

There was another story the same day about an interviewee at a press conference sounding off about press coverage. Sounding off about press coverage at a press conference orchestrated by his lawyers? I will add that one as soon as I find the file.

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