Bloggers welcome at Democrat Debates, but….

LAPD Says not to bloggers at Republican Debates! 

Yes, you got that the headline correct.  Our own David Markland is at the Democrat debates pounding out the posts on what is going on faster than I can open up the RSS feeds.  YET, two local bloggers with Blogher.com were refused Press Passes for the Republican Convention.  Their full story given to us as story suggest speaks for itself.

“On Monday, BlogHer’s Katy Chen and Erin Kotecki Vest were suddenly denied LAPD Press Passes for the Republican Debate tonight: “However, the Los Angeles Police Department denied credentials to both Katy and I on the grounds we are “online media” and BlogHer.com was not throughly investigated by the LAPD. This decision came suddenly after weeks of talks with LAPD personnel and assurances that Katy and I, as former Los Angeles news reporters, would be applying for a press pass “renewal” as we were simply changing our media affiliation.” I am a BlogHer.com contributing editor, so this is of personal concern to me, but I also believe that these sorts of things concern the blogosphere and the public at large, particularly Angelinos. Thank you.”. 

We can add this to the debate. We don’t know and likely never will know what if any part partisan politics took in the decision. All appearances is the GOP had nothing to do with the decision but that the blog had not been thoroughly investigated by LAPD researchers.

Add that to the debate as to whether “bloggers” are media I opened earlier HERE.  Maybe more precisely…is media and “on-line” media different and should they be treated differently when looking at processing press passes?  Chime in LA as this affects the blogsphere’s ability to gather information and report.

Thanks to Liz Rizzo for the story suggestion (and our own Jason Burns for alerting me it was in there).

4 Replies to “Bloggers welcome at Democrat Debates, but….”

  1. I heard that a few alternative, and reputable, journalists who are at tonite’s debate weren’t allowed at last night’s for a lack of law enforcement credentials.

    The difference may lay in part due to CNN managing the Dem debate credentials, and the Reagan Library being in charge of the credentials there.

    That said, as far as I know, some bloggers WERE invited to the Republican debate… conservative bloggers. Alas, if anyone wants to blame the “media” for being biased, they should remember this situation.

  2. Huffington Post is definitely media. The fact that they are not getting a press pass by the LAPD is very problematic. Blogher, I’m not yet familiar enough with it to state it, but to me Huffington Post meets my three criteria of editorial media.

    1. Paying writers. If you have ads you have to pay people. If you don’t then you don’t, but if you do, even google ads you have to pay people. You have to get paid for what you do. Exploitation even for a greater cause isn’t good. Not paying equals exploitation. I think any site that has ads should pay people, a percentage, heck ten bucks, twenty bucks something.

    Print writers have unions, I’m thinking the virtually world should look into that. No content, no ads, so…

    2. Not connected with any commericial type entity. I have to say that while I don’t agree with Mayor Sam’s blog, it to me is doing a great job at being a nonaffiliated editorial blog.

    3. 70% of content has nothing to do with spending money.

    That’s my criteria for a blog getting a press pass. If a blog is doing that I think it deserves to get a press pass and Huffington Post not getting one is completely outrageous.

    People at community monthly papers can get press passes and I know that Huffington Post and Blog Her are doing more than the vast majority of monthlies.

    I’m really thinking that there should be two sets of blogs, editorial and pr. Editorial blogs should have labels that state that have a code of ethics, that would really help in legitimate people who care about providing info in getting press passes and would prevent this thing where if you’re too liberal you don’t get one.

    There needs to be ethics in blogging.

    That’s my only issue with blogging being viewed as media. There seems to be no ethics in some aspects of it. Bloggers need a class on ethics.

    http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    Here’s a little snippet:
    Act Independently
    Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
    Journalists should:
    –Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    — Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
    — Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
    — Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
    — Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
    — Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

    Browne

  3. So let me get this straight.

    LAPD researchers will investigate and decide who gets a press pass to cover an important (in this case, political) event?

    Did I miss something?

  4. Hi Everyone-Erin of blogher here. The GOP and the Reagan Library did give us their own passes to attend, however we had to pick them up with “law enforcement” credentials. And yes, other traditional media outlets did not get in because they had not renewed or gotten theirs from LAPD, or the Sheriff’s Department or otherwise.

    However, LAPD was working Monday and Tuesday to renew and re-issue credentials for media who needed them to get in. As Katy and I both have been issued LAPD press credentials we were told not to submit for new ones, but to bring our new employment letter Monday or Tuesday and be renewed. Had we brought in a letter from CNN or KFWB, this would not have been a problem.

    BlogHer.com is a non partisan site with 8.3 million readers per month, making it the largest online women’s network on the web. And if Hal Fishman can be biased in an editorial and Pat Morrison can give opinion in a column and they both get law enforcement credentials, I see no reason why a blogger can not.

    We’re sending our stuff into LAPD to see what they say. In the meantime, it’s my understanding (or so I have been told) that The LA Country Sheriff’s station is a bit more liberal about issuing credentials and defining who is and isn’t media.

    Personally I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed head on and we’re submitting our applications to LAPD.

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