San Diego Media Justice Society

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

San Diego PRESS PASSES

 San Diego 
 Police Department
 Media Relations Office
Lt. Kevin Mayer
Media Line 619-531-2900
 FAX 619-531-2789
REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION AND/OR
INTERVIEWS ON NON-BREAKING NEWS 
STORIES SHOULD BE MADE THROUGH THE 
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE.
Updated 9/2014

According to the San Diego Police official Media Relations Policy:

All members of the department are encouraged to cooperate fully with authorized news media in providing information to the public about the affairs of this department in which the public has a legitimate interest.

The Media Relations Office has specific responsibility for dissemination of information and provides a department-wide, limited resource for the various commands. It (also) shall be the responsibility of the Watch Commander’s Office to 
disseminate information and available news releases to authorized news media regarding all major incidents, significant crimes or other noteworthy events.

Information that MAY be released: most department information which is not confidential or which would not hamper an investigation or jeopardize the rights of anyone. This includes basic information about a crime or an arrest and any information that might result in public assistance in an investigation.

Information that MAY NOT be released: statements or confessions made by a suspect; results of any test taken by a suspect; the names of juveniles arrested or listed as suspects in a crime report; information from child abuse reports; the names and addresses of victims of sex crimes or hate crimes; “rap sheets” or information obtained from rap sheets; the names of deceased persons (the Medical Examiner will release that information after next of kin are notified).

(MEDIA IDENTIFICATION CARDS)

 To be eligible for a San Diego Police Department press pass, an applicant must demonstrate a need to cross police and/or fire lines on a regular basis. When a media member presents a valid press identification card and has a vehicle identification placard issued by a law enforcement agency, he/she should be permitted to drive through police and/or fire lines, provided that public safety and order will not be jeopardized, and that investigations or operations by police or fire departments will not be hampered. Visit http://www.sandiego.gov/police/forms/index.shtml for a press pass form.

Department-issued media vehicle placards are not licenses to park illegally. Be sure to read any restrictions on the placard before parking.

(CRITICAL INCIDENTS)

Disasters (earthquakes, flooding, etc.) and scenes of civil disobedience may be closed to the public pursuant to 409.5 P.C.; however, news media representatives are exempt from this restriction. As soon as a disaster has been identified and 
secured, authorized media shall be permitted free access to the area after being advised of any existing danger. They may not interfere with law enforcement or public safety functions.

Crime scenes are closed to the public and the media until any preservation and processing of evidence has been completed. 409.5 P.C. does not apply to crime scenes.

News media personnel have no right of access to private property greater than the general public and are subject to public access restrictions imposed by the owner or person in charge when a critical incident occurs on private property.

The San Diego Police Department requires press to apply for a pass to cover many events.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego
by  on AUGUST 21, 2014 · 17 COMMENTS
Womans Democratic LogoBy Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club
When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).
The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.
San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?). Heady stuff for this newly minted, but brashly confident, team of young reporters including Scott LewisAndrew DonahueWill Carless andEvan McLaughlin.
Indeed, for a time, VOSD was a beacon of hope for readers, mainly progressives, who longed for journalism that was smart, informed, a little sassy and not afraid to call out San Diego’s particularly self-reverent grand poobahs. There was a dare-to-hope feeling that this online start-up might live up to its ambitious mission statement “to consistently deliver ground-breaking investigative journalism for the San Diego region.”
And lord knows San Diego offered a target rich environment for investigative journalism.
During those halcyon years VOSD had the luxury of extensive financial backing from Buzz Woolley.

Show Me the Money

VOSDBox1
Source: http://voiceofsandiego.org/about-us/
But public non-profits have to keep bringing money in. In order to maintain its 501c3 status the organization had to make sure its money came from a wider base. Scott Lewis began to write less and work more with the nuts and bolts of running a web based non-profit dependent on donations. He took on the title of CEO. His tasks were to grow a membership, find generous foundations and donors, create strategic alliances and develop a functional website as the foundation of the enterprise. By all accounts he has done a credible job.
VOSD sponsors a number of conversations, breakfasts, forums and events throughout the year. Its annual Politifest has a permanent spot on the calendar of the politically interested. While many of the reporters from the 2005-2009 period have gone on to other endeavors, the finances of the group are improving over a tough 2011. Its 2012 IRS990 report shows a 41% jump in contributions/grants and a more than doubling of cash on hand over 2011.
The list of its top 20 contributors includes several funds from the San Diego Foundation, the continuing generosity of Buzz Woolley, Price Charities and $150,000 from Irwin and Joan Jacobs. Its community partners include American Medical Response, Hughes Marino, and SDG&E. Of the $1,372,714 in contributions and grants received in 2012, $366,877 was from memberships.
The idea of a non-profit, online news organization, one specifically created to provide “accountable” journalism, is a relatively new and untested concept. Indeed the idea was so intriguing that in 2010 the Columbia School of Journalism did a Case Study entitled “Not For Profit? The Voice of San Diego Experiment”
The success of the experiment will be determined by how VOSD deals with two related issues, inextricably linked to the question “Who Runs San Diego?”.

Two Critical Questions

VOSDBox3
Source: http://voiceofsandiego.org/about-us/
First of all, it’s all about the money. Some may think that non-profits somehow rise above the struggle for the legal tender. Of course this is not the case and non-profits spend a very large amount of time and energy in search of the kindness of strangers. VOSD has many energetic and innovative efforts to raise money: its Meeting of the Minds program, Community Partners Program, and Politifest, to name a few. Just this week it began an attempt to crowd fund a new investigative reporter covering housing and development.
Just as for-profit journalistic enterprises face questions about how much advertisers (and owners) influence what gets covered and how it gets covered, VOSD has faced questions regarding how it covers, or doesn’t cover, news involving high end donors and large corporate entities. Its coverage of the Plaza de Panama controversy, involving Irwin Jacobs, was criticized. Many readers took Lisa Halverstadt to task for what they perceived as a less than balanced reporting of issues involving orca captivity at Sea World. Others, myself included, thought VOSD overlooked some very important relationships and motivations in telling the story of the political demise of Bob Filner.
These and other concerns have taken some of the bloom off the rose of the hopes of the progressive community that VOSD would take on the powers that be and do the ground-breaking investigative reporting it promises in its mission statement.
Which brings us to the 2nd major issue: bias. Scott Lewis, the CEO of VOSD, is very clear when he speaks about bias in reporting. He does not even pretend not to be biased. The VOSD website guidelines for reporters states in oversized letters There is No Such Thing as Objectivity.
Many would agree with that assessment, and even give VOSD a shout out for the sort of world weary hipster-noir blatancy of that statement.
But here’s the thing: to just poke your cyber thumb in your journalistic chest and say “I’m biased. Everyone is.” is not enough. If you claim your bias, but fail to identify what your bias is, you’ve left off the most important part of the conversation.
VOSDBox4a
Source: http://voiceofsandiego.org/about-us/
In seeking the answer to the media segment of our series “Who Runs San Diego?” we got a pretty clear picture of where Doug Manchester and John Lynch stand. They told us when they bought the UT that they really wanted to advance their extremely conservative agenda, that they really liked making money and they bought that nice little newspaper and the land it sits on to do just those things.
VOSD does not provide that level of clarity. Certainly they have a nice turn of phrase: “We are guided by an ability to be transparent and independent, to clearly assess what’s going on in our community and have the courage to plainly state the truth”.
It would be good, given that there is no such thing as objectivity, to provide some clarification as to which truth it is that will be plainly stated.

Who are the Winners and Losers?

San Diego wins having an online publication that works hard to bring the interested citizens information and venues to share information and ideas. Could it be fiercer? Yes.
San Diego loses if we don’t address the undue influence of money in our public discourse. In the VOSD circumstance crowdfunding may help offset the possibility of undue influence by large donors. If many give a little, it clears the path for “ground-breaking investigative journalism.”

What Simple Thing Can You Do to Address the Problem?

Give a couple of bucks to crowdfunding. Give VOSD the opportunity and encouragement to be a little fiercer.
Write an opinion piece. I am astounded at the expertise and concern demonstrated by many activists in San Diego.
Tell your story. Tell it at VOSD. Tell it at San Diego Free Press. Tell it at OB Rag. Tell it at your non-Manchester-owned community weekly (which we’ll be covering next week).
Linda Perine is the President of DWC, an avid cyclist and tennis player.
This is the fifth installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Democratic Woman’s Club, published weekly in the San Diego Free Press. The Democratic Woman’s Club mission is to promote Democratic Party principles including equality of opportunity, a level playing field, and fair and equal treatment for all. 

I think Perrine is accurate, and shows a valid charity with the VoSD experiment in non-profit, online, public-benefit news media. I’ve generally liked the quality, objectivity, and professional reporting of VoSD staff over the years, and I contribute small donations, but I’ve also had a tough time stomaching some of their stuff, especially some of the multi-media commentary that was produced for other local broadcast media interests. That’s probably as it should be, if I agreed with them all the time, they wouldn’t be doing anything for me. Yet it concerns me that, like other Public Media corporations, they get much of their funding from large corporations and corporate foundations, large donations from private individuals, and a minority of their funding from small contributions from members. I would like to see this model work, but I’d also like to see a commitment from the tax-exempt, non-profit, public benefit corporation to limit large donations to, say, 10% of total annual revenues, just to avoid the appearance of bias.
One other thing to think on, Linda says “If you claim your bias, but fail to identify what your bias is, you’ve left off the most important part of the conversation.” I don’t think that’s enough, as a professional journalist you need to make a commitment to the objective truth, and that means knowing your biases, exposing them, but then attempting to avoid them, and opening your reporting to valid and accountable critics to correct any bias or errors in your work. Just because everyone has a point of view, doesn’t mean that the facts aren’t objectively knowable.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who Runs San Diego?

Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

By Eva Posner & Linda Perine /Democratic Woman’s Club
Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.
It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.
In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.
Pundits and analysts give many reasons for the lack of engagement: voter fatigue, uninspiring candidates, disillusionment surrounding the Filner debacle, and the lack of a culture of voting in areas with a large immigrant influence. We are told that working two (maybe three) jobs with transportation issues, childcare and other deterrents make it difficult to get to the polls. And indeed, all these causes had some influence on the undeniable “none of the above” message from the electorate.
But we think low propensity voters are saying something other than “it’s too hard”. (Particularly when vote by mail is an option.) We think it is something far more alarming: People don’t vote because they believe it simply does not matter who gets elected. They are not uninformed, culturally challenged civic slackers. They are realistic, maybe fatalistic, graduates of a school of particularly hard knocks.
It is way past time that we as people who believe in a government of, by and for the people acknowledge that we have a problem that is not going to be resolved by get out the vote platitudes and self-affirming mantras based in wishful thinking.
Our democracy is badly broken, nationally and right here at home in San Diego.
We all know it. We can sense it. We can see the symptoms of our sickly system. And we are tired of it. But instead of shrugging it off, we at the Democratic Woman’s Club want to start a robust, critical, and well-past-due conversation on how to fix it.
Step one in solving a problem is admitting you have one. Check.
Step two is a lot more complicated, and often painful. You have to identify the problem. Describe it. Find the root causes. In order to fight, you have to know your enemy.
There’s a story in San Diego that hasn’t been told. It’s one of abuse of power and a lack of accountability that has drowned out the voice of the people. It’s the story of a shadow government– one that you don’t get to vote for—that makes decisions every day that affect you, your family, and your community. It’s a story of leaders who put their personal ambitions over the interests of the people they represent. It’s a story that should make all county residents very angry.
This matters. It matters because the power of our democracy has been handed to a select few who do not have our interests at heart. More importantly, it matters because we can fix this, and return the power where it belongs: with us.
“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Political observers and writers from around the county have joined forces with Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County to start asking some tough questions about “Who Runs San Diego?”
Who are the people who make the decisions for the rest of us? How do they make their money? How do they take our money? Who are the winners and losers? And how do we level the playing field?
Here is a preview of the different segments we will cover:
Media- The fourth branch of government. The bridge between you and your community. These people should be holding leaders accountable and giving you the information you need to make decisions in your daily life. There aren’t very many media outlets in San Diego County. Many, if not most of them, are owned by a very small number of people. Do you see how this could be a problem?
Republican Surrogates- You don’t hear much out of the San Diego County Republican Party. Most of the right’s political direction and funding come from surrogates like the Lincoln Club, Chamber of Commerce, and San Diego County Taxpayers Association. It will be interesting to explore the relationships between these organizations, their donors, and the leadership of our government.
Tourism- Tourism is one of the three leading economic drivers in San Diego. This creates some problems, among them a preponderance of low-income jobs, a focus on appearance vs. reality, the use of public funds for private gain. There are extraordinarily large expenditures of taxpayer dollars that may not benefit the taxpayers as much as it benefits sports franchises and hotel owners. It’s your money. Aren’t you just a little curious?
“Nonprofits”- Downtown Partnership, Civic San Diego, the San Diego Foundation, and the Economic Development Corporation all have substantial influence. Some have quasi-governmental authority with virtually no accountability. These mixed use entities are home to some of the most obvious revolving door cronyism: power brokers who govern your community and then use the policies they create to make money.
We will also have segments on boards and commissions, developers, hi-tech, academia, lobbyists and others that wield undue influence over who gets what in San Diego.
We are excited to go on this journey. It is a necessary step in repairing our broken democracy. It is high time we find out who really runs San Diego so that we know where to take the fight. It’s time to take the power back.
Please join us. Articles will appear every Wednesday in the San Diego Free Press.
If you have any thoughts, insights, or suggestions please contact us atinfo@dwc-sd.org
The Democratic Woman’s Club mission is to promote Democratic Party principles including equality of opportunity, a level playing field, and fair and equal treatment for all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reminder - We Are Media

Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.
But it is the “big six” that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don’t call it “programming” for nothing.
Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….
In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest. Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com. The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….
Time Warner
  • Home Box Office (HBO)
  • Time Inc.
  • Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • CW Network (partial ownership)
  • TMZ
  • New Line Cinema
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Cinemax
  • Cartoon Network
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • America Online
  • MapQuest
  • Moviefone
  • Castle Rock
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Fortune
  • Marie Claire
  • People Magazine
Walt Disney
  • ABC Television Network
  • Disney Publishing
  • ESPN Inc.
  • Disney Channel
  • SOAPnet
  • A&E
  • Lifetime
  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
  • Buena Vista Records
  • Disney Records
  • Hollywood Records
  • Miramax Films
  • Touchstone Pictures
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Buena Vista Games
  • Hyperion Books
Viacom
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET)
  • Comedy Central
  • Country Music Television (CMT)
  • Logo
  • MTV
  • MTV Canada
  • MTV2
  • Nick Magazine
  • Nick at Nite
  • Nick Jr.
  • Nickelodeon
  • Noggin
  • Spike TV
  • The Movie Channel
  • TV Land
  • VH1
News Corporation
  • Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
  • Fox Television Stations
  • The New York Post
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • Beliefnet
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox Kids Europe
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Sports Net
  • Fox Television Network
  • FX
  • My Network TV
  • MySpace
  • News Limited News
  • Phoenix InfoNews Channel
  • Phoenix Movies Channel
  • Sky PerfecTV
  • Speed Channel
  • STAR TV India
  • STAR TV Taiwan
  • STAR World
  • Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
  • Times Literary Supplement Magazine
  • Times of London
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox International
  • 20th Century Fox Studios
  • 20th Century Fox Television
  • BSkyB
  • DIRECTV
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Fox Broadcasting Company
  • Fox Interactive Media
  • FOXTEL
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • The National Geographic Channel
  • National Rugby League
  • News Interactive
  • News Outdoor
  • Radio Veronica
  • ReganBooks
  • Sky Italia
  • Sky Radio Denmark
  • Sky Radio Germany
  • Sky Radio Netherlands
  • STAR
  • Zondervan
CBS Corporation
  • CBS News
  • CBS Sports
  • CBS Television Network
  • CNET
  • Showtime
  • TV.com
  • CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
  • CBS Consumer Products
  • CBS Outdoor
  • CW Network (50% ownership)
  • Infinity Broadcasting
  • Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
  • Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Universal
  • Bravo
  • CNBC
  • NBC News
  • MSNBC
  • NBC Sports
  • NBC Television Network
  • Oxygen
  • SciFi Magazine
  • Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
  • Telemundo
  • USA Network
  • Weather Channel
  • Focus Features
  • NBC Universal Television Distribution
  • NBC Universal Television Studio
  • Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
  • Trio
  • Universal Parks & Resorts
  • Universal Pictures
  • Universal Studio Home Video

Media Consolidation Infographic

These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people. Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.
These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.
Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.
That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years. The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.
Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire worldfinancial system? Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the de-industrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?
Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news.
But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as “hard hitting news” these days.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Good Journalism is a dying art

As the exploding crisis in Iraq spotlights once again the tragic record of American policy in the Middle East, Bill speaks with investigative journalist Charles Lewis, whose new book, “935 Lies” details the many government falsehoods that have led us into the current nightmare. A complicit partner, he says, is a media intent on preserving the status quo and never offending the ruling elite.
investigative journalist Charles Lewis, whose new book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

Sunday, June 22, 2014

About the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

About the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is a public interest legal organization that brings a unique and cutting edge approach dedicated to the defense of human and civil rights secured by law, the protection of free speech and dissent, and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. Among the PCJF cases are constitutional law, civil rights, women's rights, economic justice matters and Freedom of Information Act cases.
Founded by Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who the Washington Post has called “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation,” the PCJF’s work includes landmark constitutional rights litigation, often concentrated in the areas of free speech, assembly or other protected political organizing activity. The PCJF’s litigation program works alongside an equally important programmatic emphasis on education and outreach.
The PCJF’s hard-hitting investigative work and transparency program has forced the disclosure of thousands of government documents about secret and illegal surveillance programs resulting in groundbreaking analysis and exposés. This work has revealed the government’s use of anti-terrorism agencies and funding against peaceful political protest in America.

This can't be happening ...

Department of Homeland Security Brands ThisCantBeHappening! a ‘Threat’