Not a Journalist

I made plans to go to the press conference today and I thought, well, just put a call into Communications to make sure I would be allowed to ask questions.

Keep in mind who does consider me a citizen-journalist and allows me into press conferences:

- Mayor McGinn's office
- American Federation of Teachers (gave me a press pass for the entire convention)
- the people who organized the Arne Duncan event and let me speak with him as a member of the press (not with teachers but with other press)

So I get a call back from SPS Communications. I can attend as it is an open event but no, I can't ask questions.

Okay, I guess then if Tracy Record from the West Seattle Blog shows up and gets to ask questions, I'm asking questions.

This is one of those blurred lines because no, I'm not a professional journalist. However, that I do get recognized as a citizen-journalist with a legit platform by other entities (both governmental and others) would seem to mean I should be allowed to ask questions.

It just strikes me as a little funny that out of all the groups that might not let me ask questions, I probably wouldn't have picked SPS (more like the Mayor's office).


Charlie Mas said…
If they don't regard us as journalists, then why are we on their journalist email list? Why do they send us copies of their press releases?
Sahila said…
Melissa - you write stuff CRITICAL of SPS on this blog and elsewhere; you're lobbying against the levy. Why would they acknowledge you as a citizen journalist and let you ask questions????

Please, stop hoping for, expecting the best from these people - you will not get it...
mirmac1 said…
I think Melissa is starting to cranky like some of us have been for a while now.
Steve said…
Maybe ask them to send you the form you need to apply for press credentials. When they don't send them to you (because they don't have them), ask what the process is for other "journalists" to ask questions at these events. And find out who is enabled to do this.

A private company can deny credentials to anyone, but a public school district can't. Maybe KUOW would be interested in this as a story?
Anonymous said…
My guess; they know you and are deeply worried what type of questions you might ask! OMG, Dr. Goodloe-J will have to answer a tough question in front of the local media, cant have that!

Arnold said…
Advocate for your first ammendment rights.
Sahila said…
Dont worry Melissa - its a national trend...

NBC are trying to buy my silence by offering an op ed space on the Education Nation website

Just finished an interesting (power and control) phone conversation with the producer of this website/porgramme....

I couldnt get him to agree to put parents on the panel (he said they tried to get Diane Ravitch but she wasnt available - I suggested Prof Zhao) but to buy me off and shut me up they've offered me an op ed piece on their website...

who has anything they want to say???????

No limit, just no slander!

Here's what I wrote back (on the facebook page):

I'd like to thank Ryan at NBC for contacting me and having a telephone conversation a few minutes ago. Ryan and I have something in common - we are both journalists with an ethical responsibility for providing both sides of an discussion/issue.

While Ryan said he/NBC had heard our concerns he could not offer parents (the largest stakeholders in this education reform equation) and other critics of the education 'reform' agenda a place on the panel.

He said that Diane Ravitch had been invited but was not free on these dates... I suggested he invite Professor Zhao - he did not give me an answer one way or another.

He did very generously offer me the opportunity to write an op-ed piece for the Education Nation website, which I will gratefully accept... though I did point out that an op-ed hidden somewhere on a website that people have to search to find is no match in terms of airing contrary perspectives for the public exposure the very wealthy education reformers will be getting from this summit.

Sadly, most of us parents around the country do not have the billions of dollars that the Gates and Broad and Milken Foundations and Raytheon and Phoenix University and Microsoft etc have to throw at this effort to mould and control the discussion... But I will take what I can get, albeit a very small bone....

Ryan did give me some feedback I shall bear in mind - he felt my many posts were repetitive, intimidating and shutting out of other points of view... I will think on that - though how that is possible on a facebook page, which has no limit on comment postings, I dont know....

And I just had feedback from someone in contact with Diane Ravitch that while she is in California on the dates of the Summit, she did offer to provide a taped segment as her contribution to the debate... apparently that was not good enough... quite sad, really...
Sahila said…
You'll find the summit guest/speaker list here (its by invitation only) (and not on the NBC page - if its there its well hidden!!!)
Participants in the Education Nation Summit will include
#Michael Bloomberg: Mayor, City of Ne...w York
# Geoffrey Canada: CEO & President of Harlem Children's Zone Project
# Arne Duncan: US Secretary of Education
# Byron Garrett: CEO of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
# Allan Golston, President, US Program, The Gates Foundation
# Reed Hastings: Founder & CEO of Netflix
# Walter Isaacson: President & CEO of the Aspen Institute
# Joel Klein: Chancellor of New York City Schools
# Wendy Kopp: CEO and Founder of Teach for America
# John Legend: Musician; Founder of the Show Me Campaign
# Gregory McGinity: Managing Director of Policy, The Broad Education Foundation
# Bill Pepicello, Ph.D.: President of University of Phoenix
# Sally Ride: First Female Astronaut; Vice-chair of Change the Equation
# Michelle Rhee: Chancellor, District of Columbia Public School System of Washington, D.C.
# Margaret Spellings: Former US Secretary of Education
# Antonio Villaraigosa: Mayor, City of Los Angeles, Californi
# Randi Weingarten: President of American Federation of Teachers (AFT-CLO)

and look at the deformist sponsors:
Sahila said…
This is what NBC posted overnight, an an effort to control dissent on its facebook page linked to the pro Education Reform "Summit" it is hosting next week.

The 'invitation only' panellists are big business reps, politicians and the two main players (the Gates and Broad Foundations) who are currently working to privatise public education... no parents or working teachers on the panel, no reform critics, despite loud protests (not just from me!)....

"Thanks for all your comments. We understand that this is a very passionate issue and an important discussion. But in order to keep the conversation focused and allow everyone to have their voice heard, we will be moderating by deleting repetitive comments and
blocking users who aren't being civil. Thanks for your interest and all of your participation."

Censorship and control, anyone?
peonypower said…
It seems a shame that no parents will be represented, and I am guessing the moderation will be everyone agreeing with everyone else about how awesome their reform plans are.

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