Tell me LA is a “Blogger” media?

OK,  our Metroblogging City Captain dropped me a note after I explained the whole “not media” thing.  I initially thought I should just drop it and not get into some petty argument with our PIO.  He said post it as whether bloggers are media or not is always debatable. For the record note I have gotten press credentials from other events as a “blogger” so at least the City of LA, the Auto Show and a couple of Corporations have issued press passes to me in the past.  I may not be the best but at least I can meet minimum qualifications.  

Briefly here is how it played out. I attended the city press conference regarding the gang warfare here.  The city Principal Information Officer was giving transcripts of the mayors speech.  Several of us asked for a copy and he replied “it is for media only”.  I said, that’s fine “I am the media, I am frazgo at blogging.la and I happen to live here”.  He said” I am familiar with your work, you are not media you do not get one”  He turned around and walked away from me I said, “oh, can I quote you on that?”.  He stopped for a second  and then walked on.  

Whatever I think to myself. 

He walked away, chatted with someone on the council stage then came back handed me a copy and said “Since we are going for accuracy let it be known you are an advocate and we do not consider you media”.  Whatever, I didn’t get thrown out. A got a copy of the transcript which wound up not being useful to me or of interest to you.  I know there were other bloggers in the audience at the time so I wasn’t the only one. 

So my question to you LA, is a “blogger” media or not? 

21 Replies to “Tell me LA is a “Blogger” media?”

  1. I think any blogger is “media” – whether or not they’re a journalist is questionable, and something that should be decided on a case by case basis.

    What’s disturbing is that they believe that because you’re an advocate you aren’t media… seems like a very, very strange disqualification.

  2. I googled “define:media”

    Interesting result:

    “The forms of publication. Traditional advertising media include newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and television. Digital interactive advertising media started with the Internet, accessed at an indoor computer, but is quickly spreading to television, cellular devices and outdoor locations.
    themarketingskeptic.com/glossary/”

    Of course, whatever that link is, is broken.

  3. I think it depends on what WATB you’re talking too. I’ve been chastised this morning by several people around the country for not using my blog creds to get into tonight’s debate. Well, I don’t think of myself as a Blogger, so the thought never crossed my mind. On the other hand, when I speak to people, I’m randomly asked, “Are you a blogger?” and I say, “Well, I run 4 blogs, but I’m not a bloggerblogger and at that point I’m given 3 options: 1)the subject gives me a media contact, 2) I’m asked to forget everything said beforehand and only put what follows on the record (very rare) or 3) I’m shut out.

    I’m talking everyday things, like me calling a company to have them come and fix my stuff they say they’ll fix. OTOH, when I’m looking for quotes for my blog stories, I am very upfront about what I’m doing, what blog I’m writing for and all that good stuff.

    Just don’t get on my bad side because that all gets put on my personal blog. With names.

  4. I wonder how influential Councilperson Eric Garcetti has been in the issue over bloggers covering the kodak theater if any? He is very friendly to the blogosphere and he has his own blog.

    Thanks to Ben on another post on here… I am watching CNN coveragew online right now….

  5. This is getting to be totally ridiculous.

    The most important communication priority in a situation like this is to deliver clear, accurate, reliable information that reflects cool, calm, thoughtful leadership. As a lieutenant on the streets of Baghdad, I knew I had to watch my actions, tone and volume in order to reflect confidence and control.

    Mr. Singer has repeatedly proven incapable of this.

    As I have said elsewhere, I previously held a relatively high opinion of him. I find the City’s Web site to be one of the most comprehensive and informative of any town in the SGV.

    However, the laundry list of failures has reached an absurd level.

    – The false denials of trouble in November and December about the original rash of shootings reminds me of the scene in Dragnet where the cop tells the crowd “nothin’ to see here, keep moving” as the fireworks factory explodes.

    – The snide comment about the Monrovia vs. Mayberry Web site on the City’s own “Rumor Control” page reflected a pinnacle of arrogance and a shocking absence of professional standards.

    – That same page falsely reported that 16-year-old Sammantha Salas attended Canyon HS. She did not. She lived in Alhambra. This information was posted three days after the shooting, and after the Tribune reported that grief counselors were at AHS. Exactly how much more confused can a PIO get?

    – When we on Primrose Avenue put up our own street signs to address our traffic issues, Singer went on TV to pass out patronizing platitudes, and did all he could to resist saying the City would do anything to help us. Even the reporters were puzzled by his obfuscation.

    – Last night, the Tribune continues to report, Mr. Singer took steps to prevent a photographer from getting pictures of a public meeting. Mr. Singer disputes this, but, frankly, I do not believe him.

    (That right there should be the end of any PIO).

    – His ominous statement, “this isn’t over, and we know it.” Exactly how is that supposed to instill confidence in the community? How about, “we have vastly increased our deployment of officers and called in additional resources to bring this to an end.” How about: “These thugs might try more violence, but they’d better not, because we’ve got every cop in Monrovia looking for the first sign of trouble.” Or, better yet: “The police Chief has a strong handle on this. Talk to him.”

    – And, now, Mr. Singer decides to pick-and-choose whomever he defines as a journalist. So, Frazgo is not. Is George Will? Tavis Smiley? John Ziegler? Christopher Hitchens? They all write in the opinion format, almost all in a blog medium as well. Are they to be excluded?

    – And, finally, since when in heck does the City limit the distribution of information to citizens? None of those reporters live in town. Most of their audience is out of town. But a resident, at a public meeting, is denied a copy of the official comments of our elected mayor?

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but Dick Singer must go, before his arogance leads to more havoc and confusion.

  6. I think it’s kind of like this, a blogger can be media, but if you don’t paid to do it, you’re not media.

    You can say what you want, but there has got to be some kind of barrier to entry other than signing up for for a free blog and just typing.

    If we made media a thing that was a hobby, do you know what that would do to media? To the press?

    It would destroy it. There has to be an objective way to get out info and many blogs are not that. If you have a sports team you can’t own a paper which promotes your sports team and then pretend as if it’s editorial that’s unethnical.

    Which is why most of them can’t be media. Too much conflict of interest. Too much “forgetting” the whole full disclosure rule, and now it’s like people just put it up there as a joke, hahah, this is my friend. Like that’s ok.

    The only real journalist out there blogging seems to be Nikki Finke, writing about Hollywood, but she’s not in the Hollywood business.

    If blogs want to bevmedia, they need to develop some kind of ethics, because it would turn media into an endless parade of press releases of “buy this” “buy that” “see this show my friend who I live with is producing.”

    And people not want to be too offensive, because that may make people upset, even if that thing makes people unhappy is a fact.

    Browne

  7. Well ZB for starters this press conference was put out as an open notice. Many from the community and other blogs were represented.

    Robert, you have made many astute observations, I didn’t name names but the PIO and others are simply angry that I spotted the North Primrose and brought attention they did not want.

    Browne, blogging is such an interesting media. I don’t call myself “press” as what I do is not paid. But what I do put out is published in a recognized media so I should have qualified without comment or concern. I did identify my self and writer with metroblogging and a resident.

    Good dialogue. Interesting dialogue.

  8. I’m not kissing your butt Frazgo, but you do seem to be actually doing media. I don’t know how reporting on gang warfare in Monorovia gets you cash, so good job in regards to breaking out of the “its about ME, ME, ME” box. Yeah it’s about you, but not really, I mean everything is about everyone if you want to look at in a humanistic type manner.

    Browne

  9. Browne one would never expect you to kiss anyones butt, kick it when out of line but never kiss.

    I’m trying different stuff, plenty of inane will fill the dull dates. We’re all volunteer here it is about passion for what interests us. For what is worth I have never made a dime off what I post here.

  10. Frazgo,

    Thanks for politely highlighting an issue (and likely an event) that should cause us each to take pause.

    Please know that Los Angeles area bloggers are not alone in trying to better understand much less address the challenges (some contrived and some *very* real) that face those on both sides of the informational divide.

    While California has specific laws for enhanced media access …and I professionally cannot rely on criteria to differentiate between traditional mainstream press and anyone with a disposable camera or new blogger or wordpress account… I do want b/la readers to know that there is a reason for the generic title of PIO… because our first and middle names merely underscore that it is indeed PUBLIC INFORMATION.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer * (an internal title for the PIO working in the bunker)
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  11. Mr. Humphrey said it. This Monrovia spokesman is paid to disseminate public information, not limit it. I am a reporter. There are situations when not everyone can be accommodated (at a presidential press conference, for example). Otherwise, that piece of paper and the information on it was public, and he should have done you right. There’s a tyranny of authority that’s becoming a disease around here.

  12. Bloggers by definition are media, but there is a huge difference between personal journal blogs and information sites like Metroblogging LA. The main confusion comes from whether “media” like blogs can be considered “journalism”. In your case, yes, but in many cases, no. And then there are many levels of journalism, from amateurs to professionals. The door is wide open to perception and interpretation.

  13. The point is that, if there are copies available, then anyone should be provided them. Or are we to file California Public Records Act requests for every single news release and email the public information officer sends to the public? (That actually might be an interesting exercise to anyone who wants to do it. Sample forms are available on cfac.org.)

    In a crisis or press conference situation, it is perfectly fine to call on people based on level of audience and past behavior. But nowadays, even sports teams are credentialing reporters from rivals.com to their sports press conferences, which are more controlled than most news conferences. Someone needs to call Fisher out at a City Council meeting during public comment. Fortunately, the allegedly real media generally are OK with bloggers taking pictures of their documents, which is something I have had to do a few times to cover various stories.

  14. The purpose of media is to either disseminate information or to entertain or both. If a blogger is acting within the “disseminating information” category, has a known and established web-presence, is present at a public forum and wishes to be given access, my opinion is that blogger is clearly part of the media.

    I live in Monrovia. I’ve been following this debacle for months (reading local blogs and finding small tidbits in the local newspapers to piece together events) and am not surprised that it finally erupted in such an ugly manner this past month. What disappoints me is that our city leaders are acting like Richard Nixon caught with the Watergate tapes. While it is easy to blame Dick Singer, I do believe that he reports to the Mayor, Rob Hammond, and the City Manager, Scott Ochoa. My understanding is that these two public “servants” have been particularly reticent to give information to residents. As a tax payer, I find their actions reprehensible.

    Anyway, Frazgo, the point is that this should never have been an issue. You should not have had to fight to get information.

  15. The purpose of media is to either disseminate information or to entertain or both. If a blogger is acting within the “disseminating information” category, has a known and established web-presence, is present at a public forum and wishes to be given access, my opinion is that blogger is clearly part of the media.

    I live in Monrovia. I’ve been following this debacle for months (reading local blogs and finding small tidbits in the local newspapers to piece together events) and am not surprised that it finally erupted in such an ugly manner this past month. What disappoints me is that our city leaders are acting like Richard Nixon caught with the Watergate tapes. While it is easy to blame Dick Singer, I do believe that he reports to the Mayor, Rob Hammond, and the City Manager, Scott Ochoa. My understanding is that these two public “servants” have been particularly reticent to give information to residents. As a tax payer, I find their actions reprehensible.

    Anyway, Frazgo, the point is that this should never have been an issue. You should not have had to fight to get information.

  16. While not necessarily applicable to the aforementioned individuals and entities, I find it important to share the Code of Ethics from CAPIO, the California Association of Public Information Officials. CAPIO is a statewide membership organization with 300 members throughout the Golden State.

    The CAPIO Board of Directors formally adopted a Code of Ethics for its members, developed from the codes of a number of prestigious organizations
    ranging from the International City Managers Association to the American Society of Journalists. It addresses the importance of dealing with the public and the media in a fair and appropriate manner and serves as a reminder that PIO’s should make each decision as if it was being viewed by a global audience in real time.

    The CAPIO Code of Ethics:

    – I will be dedicated to the concepts and principles of democratic government.

    – I will affirm the dignity and worth of
    public service and continually strive to
    maintain the public’s confidence by
    serving the public interest and putting
    the public trust before all else.

    – I will respect the public’s right to know
    the public’s business and will strive tp
    create and maintain effective relationships
    with the media to foster those important communications.

    – I will adhere to the highest standards of honesty, accuracy and truth and will be accessible, knowledgeable and credible when speaking for my agency.

    – I will never knowingly disseminate false or misleading information and will act promptly to correct errors.

    – I will make every attempt to accommodate and educate members of the media by presenting information in a clear and concise fashion.

    – I will strive to be the best source of information for my agency and if I do not know the answer to a question, I will find it or find someone who does.

    – I will never speculate, guess or lie.

    – I will respect privileged information as it protects the public good.

    – I will seek no favor and believe that personal gain secured by knowledge of information is dishonest.

    – I will take the time to strengthen my individual capabilities, and to encourage lifetime learning and professional development for myself and others.

    – In the event of an emergency or other disaster, I will reasonably put the needs of my agency and the community it serves ahead of my personal concerns.

    While not *binding* to our agency (or any I know), I do feel it an important benchmark for any Public Information Officer to aspire to.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  17. Bloggers are media! The only people who really make the distinction between who is a journalist and who isn’t are journalists and old school PR people!

    Good for you for being upfront with the PIO!

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