Blackwell’s Words Come With A Price

jeffrey_blackwellAs most of you know, I have not been shy when it comes to reporting information with regards to Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. I have reported on his hiring, and my concerns with that decision. I have reported on comments made with regards to the homicide rate and of is demanding that he be aaddressed as sir. As a fan of the City of Cincinnati and a fan of the Cincinnati police Department, I am always looking for valid information about those entrusted with the leadership not only of the City, but any of it’s departments. Consequently, because of my background, I am most interested in the Cincinnati police Department and find myself frequently reporting on both the department and it’s leadership. Based on this I thought I had received an early Christmas present when I was notified, via Google Alerts, of a recent interview Blackwell had with WCPO.

Following this notification, I eagerly clicked on the provided link to read the story of and interview conducted with Jeffrey Blackwell with a promise of learning of Blackwell’s feelings and concerns when the article promised “Chief Jeffrey Blackwell says meeting varied ‘spectrum of expectations tough’ today”. I had no idea what this meant but felt I was about to find out. I clicked on the link, read a few short paragraphs, and then was stopped with a demand for money to find out more. The exact words from the article were “Subscribe to WCPO Insider or login below to to (sic) see what Blackwell had to say about race relations, curbing gang violence and more.”. I clicked on the subscription link only to discover that subscribing meant paying a ransom to WCPO to find out what he had said. Being a senior citizen on a fixed income, I would rather not subsidize a big news conglomerate with my meager income. Don’t they already make enough from their various advertisers? Do they need to gouge the public as well?

Normally something like this is not a real problem as anything news worthy is reported on by more than one news agency, but obviously, by its very nature, an “exclusive” interview will be reported on only by the news source that conducted the interview. This brings certain questions to my mind. I do not have the answers, so I am bringing them to you for your consideration and possible input. If a public official provides information via a local news agency, who actually owns the information? Is the information owned by the news agency or the interviewee? If a public individual is interviewed, are their comments a matter of a public record and does anyone actually own the comments or do they belong to the public? In my opinion this feels like collusion. Can a public figure give a secret interview? If the public official gives the interview do they have any responsibility to ensure the results of the interview are available to the public? Is the news agency the only one who will profit from income generated by charging a subscription fee to obtain the information? As stated, I do not know the answers to these questions, but I believe they are questions that deserve an answer.

I would think many people would be interested in knowing what Jeffery Blackwell’s concerns are and what he meant when he said “spectrum of expectations tough’ today”. I would like to know, as I am sure would many others, “what Blackwell had to say about race relations, curbing gang violence and more.”. I would like to know if Jeffrey Blackwell was paid for this interview, if it was conducted on or off the clock, and if he will share in the profits generated by the ransom demands of WCPO. I am not implying that he is or is not profiting. I just want to know. I think they are valid questions, what do you think?

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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Tom Lind

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1 Comment

  1. AnonymousDecember 26, 2014

    I’ve been very annoyed with WCPO NEWS also, I feel that if they are going to cover local news you shouldn’t have to pay to finish reading a story.


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