Oct 22, 2009


A Texas school district recently changed its media policy to say that officials can turn down interview requests "if official press credentials are not presented or available." A local blogger said the policy was an attempt to marginalize social-media types, and district officials did acknowledge the change was made to deal with the rise of the Internet.

Setting aside whether this is wise policy, the new rule highlights a dilemma for hyperlocal and subjective reporters: The smaller you are, the less access you are given; the more opinionated you are, the fewer officials are likely to speak with you. In many cases, this won't be a problem. Most bloggers aren't interested in doing what the local paper does.

But a fragmented media does give officials more power to manipulate and obfuscate, whether through policy or through practice. That's something traditional media - however cash starved - has an obligation to push back against.

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