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The Difference Between "Media Advisory" and "For Immediate Release"

Hi everyone --

I came across a story today that, on one hand, raised my ire, but on the other hand, raises an important lesson.  One of Quincy's radio stations, WTAD, has essentially been banned from the media list of Sen, Dick Durbin (D-IL), after publicizing Durbin's September visit to a Quincy hospital.  I don't know if I essentially agree with the reprocussions, or with keeping any campaign or otherwise political appearance from the public, but as the story points out, Durbin's camp didn't want the event publicized.

You can read the full story here: www.quincynews.org/local-news/durbins-office-blacklists-staradio-stations.html

Thoughts, anyone?

Rick.Koshko's picture

It's not possible nor proper for any elected official to conduct all business with the public invited to drop in. It's reasonable to respect the wishes of the official who wants the media to know about an event but doesn't want everyone knowing about it. While health care is certainly one of the huge issues right now, it's not up to us to decide when a lawmaker's meeting with others ought to be public. It's up to that lawmaker. Every once in a while--six years in the case of a U.S. Senator--it's up to the voters to decide whether that lawmaker has handled the job appropriately. And that might mean judging him or her based on how easy it's been for ordinary folks to put their two cents in.

An example from my own news department: several months ago, Cong. Debbie Halvorson's office issued a notice about a meeting she would be having. I don't remember now what it was about. But we were already working on a related story that would air sooner than the meeting. It wasn't clear if the meeting was going to be public, so we contacted her office to find out before mentioning it in the story. In that case, it was okay.

Rick Koshko

Rick Koshko
WCMY News Director

Jennifer.Fuller's picture

Both of you bring up good points. I think in this instance, a media outlet should contact the office holder (or his/her spokesperson) and see if there will be a public availability at another time. It is also our responsibility as journalists to report on a meeting such as this... when the public is not allowed in. That is our job, folks. We provide information to the public when they cannot get it in person.

My $.02...

Jenn Fuller

Jennifer Fuller
INBA President
WSIU Radio

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