“Real” vs. ”unreal” journalists: One heck of a slippery slope

Fitzcryin-eyes-closedIt’s weird to find myself on the same side as blinkin’ Chris and his comedy web site:

Education reporter Lindsay Wagner was kicked out of a North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) annual meeting today, a press event listed on McCrory’s public schedule that was sent out to media outlets, including N.C. Policy Watch.

When pressed for an explanation, a representative who appears to be from NCBCE — which operates under the Office of the Governor — explicitly said that no one from N.C. Policy Watch was “invited” to this press event.[…]

Problem:  This was a public event announced in a press release that was sent to blinkin’ Chris’s office (among other places).  You don’t want someone to show up?  DON’T SEND THEM AN INVITE.

Wagner was at the PNC Arena to cover the governor’s comments to NCBCE during this event.

Wagner had already sat down when a representative approached her with questions about her “credentials.” After hushed discussions among NCBCE representatives, Wagner was escorted out by PNC security with no clarification on the credential issue and was denied a request to speak with someone from the governor’s office.

According to blinkin’ Chris, the governor’s staff tried this same “credentialed” trick with one of his other writers pat-mccrory11at an earlier event.  Chris’s girl was sent out for not being a member of The Capitol Press Corps, but a Wall Street Journal reporter (not a member of the Capitol Press Corps) was let in.

(When I was a driveby, “credentials” produced by your organization and worn around a lanyard on your neck were satisfactory in most cases.  In some instances, your credentials are issued by the people you are covering.) 

I am considering the source here.  But — knowing what I know about the guv’s team — this sounds just like them.  Newspaper readership and TV viewership are both plummeting.  More and more people are getting their news and other information from the Internet.  Our website, for instance, has a wider reach than a substantial number of traditional newspapers in this state.  We’re in an era where — if you really want to reach the widest audience possible — you NEED to be dealing with the blogosphere.

You don’t have to talk to blinkin’ Chris and his people.  You KNOW what their spin is going to be.  But getting into this petty stuff where you decide who is and is not a legitimate journalist is going to get you in a lot of trouble with people who SHOULD be your friends.