Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 Blogger Michael Koretzky has been "asked" to take down a blog post about journalism on a journalism website by the President of the Society of Professional Journalists? This is an absolute affront to all people who care about the First Amendment, journalism, corporate censorship and academic freedom. Some quick background from Mr. Koretzky:
Earlier this week, the editors at the University of Georgia’s independent student newspaper walked off the job, claiming prior review and even censorship. I’m on the SPJ national board, and under our bureaucratic structure, I represent the “region” where The Red and Black is – the southeastern United States.
(That’s why this blog is called “Southern Drawl.” Get it?)
On Thursday, Ensslin emailed me (because it’s my region) and the vice president for campus chapter affairs: “I’d like your thoughts on this situation.”
I said I planned to send someone I trust to Athens, Ga., to investigate. I said I’d pay her expenses out of my own regional budget – I was kind of fishing for a reply of, “No no, we’ll cover that for you.” Alas, it never came. But Ensslin agreed it would be a good idea to “do some fact-finding on SPJ’s behalf.”For more background on events in Athens, please refer to site of the intrepid student journalists at UGA and a great [http://www.splc.org/... summary from the Student Press Law Center.
And so Mr. Koretzky sent someone down to Athens, Georgia to investigate. Last night, Koretzky posted this blog. The atmosphere in Athens yesterday was obviously tense, but apparently more so for those who had plotted to wrest editorial control from the students.
The Red and Black management seems to embrace deflection, and nothing illustrates that better than Montevideo’s physical confrontation with a reporter from the University of Georgia’s j-school news station. Called Grady Newsource, it sent a broadcast reporter to cover the meeting.This morning, Koretzky was "asked" to pull down his blog post from the SPJ site.
This morning, Ensslin reminded me that I agreed to work for him – by replying to his email, I had entered into some sort of verbal contract to share my facts only with him. Then he would study these facts and “craft a letter from the president.”
“That’s how we do things in SPJ,” he said.
I reminded Ensslin that he didn’t pay for Tippins’ trip.
“That doesn’t matter. You’re supposed to report to me.”
So let me get this straight: If I never reply to your emails, then I’m allowed to post what I want on my regional blog about crap that happens in my region?
“Well… sure, Michael.”
But because we exchanged emails, I can’t do that?
“Uh… not really, Michael. I’m asking you again to take it down.”
I asked if he had the ability to take it down himself.
“I could certainly do that. But I’m asking you.”
His tone, while still very nice, was stern enough to imply he’d exercise that power. So I said I’d comply – and post it on my own blog.
“That’s fine, Michael.”
I wonder if he still thinks so.What is responsible for such censorship? Cronyism? Commercial/Corporate Influence run amok? Paging the intrepid Red and Dead. There is work to be done....