Creating limited media pools at high-profile, heavily policed events isn’t an uncommon practice at the Los Angeles Police Department.
“When we don’t have resources to accomodate every single outlet that wants to be there, we often do that,” says Officer Karen Rayner in the media-relations office.
But a last-minute email to the LAPD’s press list last night — saying “any outlet interested in being considered for the [Occupy L.A. eviction] pool must have a representative attend this meeting, no exceptions” — has raised some concerns among smaller-time reporters covering Occupy L.A.
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Neiman’s “pool media” email was sent to select media outlets (not including the LA Weekly, strangely) around 5:30 p.m. on Monday evening. The notification went up on the City News Service wire (which not all outlets subscribe to) at about 6 p.m. The meeting began at 7:15 p.m.
Frustrated blogger/reporter Ruth Fowler quotes the following from an anonymous attendee of the meeting:
“They were only going to let in one media outlet for each medium (print, tv and radio) but we convinced them to let in three….the only media eligible for pool were those who were on the LAPD press release list and able to get to headquarters with an hours notice. So very few were represented at the meeting. I asked about independent radio/blogs and they said that only media with LAPD-issued badges would be allowed in the vicinity. I asked about those already at the camp and they said after the unlawful assembly order everyone who doesn’t leave will be arrested, even those who are journalists. Our attorney was looking into whether there were legal challenges to be made.”
This blog article by an LA Weekly reporter was written a few hours ago, so it’s been updated a few times.
It’s been reported that anyone who is approved to enter the scene will be given “special protective clothing,” warned an hour ahead of the raid, and be given special access. So far, it’s rumored that ABC, NBC and the Associated Press are the only video media outlets that have been given the OK.
Also, apparently, any official news outlets that plans on releasing information about the raid has to pass everything through the City News Service (approved by the government) before publishing it.