Thank God the Office Has a Lamination Thing

Looks like we’re gonna have to make press credentials for all of you:

school district officials say the revised policy merely formalizes a
long-standing practice and is not an attempt to limit or curtail First
Amendment rights.

The new policy states that district
officials may turn down an interview request “if official press
credentials are not presented or available.”

“This is a
way of prioritizing how we communicate,” said Karen Permetti, a
spokeswoman for the district who wrote the revised policy. “It doesn’t
mean we’re not communicating.

I’m just saying, credentials like the ones I have from a couple of newspapers (I keep them to monitor the evolution of my terrible haircuts) are things that can be made and signed by, well, me as all y’all’s boss if you really want them. I joked with Scout about this all the time, that I would make her a press pass, because it’s not like it gives you magical powers. It’ll have our name on it and your photo and my signature and be colorful and pretty, but it’s not going to compell anyone to do anything. This isn’t Hogwarts, for fuck’s sake.

Your news organization issues you a photo ID, basically, but that’s only good for as far as it gets you and that’s not entirely up to you in all situations. In Chicago there’s a badge you can get from the cops that will let you past police barricades at crime scenes and parades and whatnot, but that’s a different thing than simply saying “press credentials.” It sounds like that’s what this district wants to be able to issue:

While there
are a growing number of legal cases about the status of social media,
“the laws make no distinction between a reporter forThe New York Timesand someone who has a neighborhood Web site,” Dalglish said.

At Monday’s meeting, Lewisville officials said the changes will not
affect parents’ ability to talk to teachers or other school personnel,
and the district will continue to comply with public information

The policy defines reporters as those who “are
employed by a print or broadcast media outlet that has an official
publication” or “an official timed broadcast” measured by the Nielsen
Co. rating system.

Which is of course within their right; this is America and you can be as shortsighted and dumb as you want to be until someone kicks your ass in court, but this seems aimed rather transparently at the Internet and with a growing number of papers relying on their web sites for breaking news distribution, that’s pretty extraordinarily lame.

Via Romenesko.


ps. I was once at an accident scene and my cell died, and naturally the one pay phone in this neighborhood was broken, so I went to a nearby motel, flashed my newspaper-issued press pass VERY quickly, and demanded the desk clerk let me use their phone as this was an EMERGENCY. Worked like a charm, but you can’t abuse your luck like that too often.

5 thoughts on “Thank God the Office Has a Lamination Thing

  1. For a nominal fee, I will print out any post someone asks me to. That will make yez a “print media outlet”.

  2. There has got to be a lot of thinking about who is and isn’t a journalist and what test you have to pass.
    How do you differentiate between me (who has a blog that has a post added maybe twice a year) and (let me pick on) A., who has a journalism training and applies that on a regular news blog.
    On the other side, I am rather glad to see the WH has essentially revoked the press credentials of Faux News. Even though they have a 24 hour broadcast.

  3. There really isn’t a good way to decide this. Ultimately it’s who the press secretaries (or whoever else) want to allow into for-the-press briefings or whatever else, depending on what kind of reporting they want to see coming out the other end. I don’t know if it’s still true, but for a long time the issuance of press-gallery credentials for congress was handled by a committee of reporters for the established media, and they behaved exactly as cliquishly as you’d think. So letting the media decide among themselves doesn’t work either.
    Maybe some kind of lottery?

  4. The motel anecdote reminds me of the parade scene in “Animal House” where one of the Deltas, dressed in a trench coat, tells a child sitting on a mailbox something on the order of, “Get off that mailbox, kid, it’s government property.”
    Good open-records and open-meetings laws will draw no distinction between journalists and plain ol’ citizens. The framers of the Constitution didn’t, for a good reason: They figured that in the society they envisioned, almost anyone might have to FUNCTION as a journalist at some point.

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