By: Diane Benjamin
Follow-up to this story: https://blnnews.com/2022/10/24/judges-up-for-retention/
Of course all the judges were retained. People claim to want term limits but when given the chance to actually term limit an elected official they don’t.
This story however is about press credentials. It took over a month (the day after the election to be exact) to get a letter telling me that Ryan Denham at WGLT was in charge of saying who gets press credentials for the courthouse and who doesn’t.
I emailed Ryan on November 11th and included the same letter I had sent to the Circuit court.
He responded on November 16th:
On Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 10:44:14 AM CST, Denham, Ryan <[email protected]> wrote:
Yes, I’m still the Media Coordinator for the circuit. Can you refresh my memory on this? Weren’t you denied media credentials previously because of an issue with unapproved cell phone photography in a courtroom? (If memory serves, that was during Edith’s tenure as Media Coordinator.)
In some ways, you are similar to some of our credentialed media outlets. But in other ways, you are very different. To help me in my decision-making, can you briefly answer the following questions? I will not share your answers with the public or publish them in any way.
— Why does BLN News want credentials?
— Describe the editorial process that BLN News follows for its reporting. What sort of reporter-editor relationships exist there to address quality-control?
— What efforts does BLN News make to be fair and accurate and to address errors/mistakes when they occur?
— Would you agree to share photo/video content with other credentialed media when we’re “pooling” for a particular trial or hearing?
Of course I was laughing at his questions, especially the “quality-control”. Obviously the only way to get press credentials is to be “in the right club”. All credentials would do for me is allow me to take my cell phone into courtroom.
I responded the same day:
Yes I was denied, but I didn’t know anything about credentials when that happened. The Pantagraph was in charge then, of course they didn’t notify me of the policy.
I only occasional attend hearings, not having access to my phone is detrimental to doing stories. Quality control is meaningless, free speech is the issue. I have issued corrections, has the Pantagraph corrected their story from yesterday stating Russia launched missiles into Poland?
Yes I would share contact, my website is wide open and free.
Maybe I should have referenced a story WGLT got wrong instead of the Pantagraph!
Ryan didn’t respond again until 11/23. I’m sure it didn’t take him 7 days to come up with this:
Thanks for the response. I’m going to decline your request for credentials. Your answers to my questions ‒ aimed at helping me understand BLN News relative to other credentialed media outlets ‒ are the basis for my denial of your request.
As you know, any member of the public (including you) can attend hearings, take notes, and report out what you see.
Ever read the first amendment Ryan?
Ever read the Supreme Court ruling stating even “bloggers” are press?
Evidently the answer to that is NO!
If course you will be a story! Thanks.
I love it when the “press” hands me stories.