Slimming 3,000 Passes to Under 1,000 “Just Part of Policy”
Among the reforms former San Francisco police Chief George GascÃ³n sought to institute in a kinder, gentler SFPD was a new policy on press passes. Under GascÃ³n, the SFPD’s Media Relations Unit began issuing the pink SFPD press passes to “non-traditional” forms of media, such as bloggers and other non-mainstream media types.
All was well in the media world, until when it wasn’t. It appears that at some point in the last year, a mainstream news outlet complained to the SFPD of “abuse” of the now-prevalent passes (one of which, for what it’s worth, this reporter has always wanted but never had, even when he was with a somewhat-MSM outlet), which are now not being renewed for at least eight online-only outlets, Michael Petrelis first reported.
For those of us searching for an LA-borne conspiracy beginning with Acting Chief Jeff Godown, ex of the LAPD, it’s a dead end. There’s been no change in SFPD policy for issuing press passes, as department spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield explained to the Appeal on Monday. “We don’t have a problem with non traditional media,” Dangerfield said, though he declined to say exactly who was losing their passes. “The policy just hasn’t been enforced, because we really haven’t had time to.”
The policy in question is simple enough: in order to qualify for an SFPD press pass, with which the bearer can cross police and fire department lines, a bearer must work at an outlet that “regularly covers police or fire breaking news.”
Anyone denied a press pass by SFPD recently hasn’t been covering breaking news stories, which could be as simple as police blotter items or other nuts-and-bolts reporting. Once the press pass-hopefuls begin covering breaking news again, they can ask for a press pass, Dangerfield added. “All I’m saying is that we have to have people playing by the rules.”
Exactly how many passes have been revoked or not renewed this year Dangerfield would not say. He did add that a “TV news or radio news” outlet did complain to SFPD about “abuse” of the press passes, forwarding reports of people being “more disruptive than reporting the story” at press events.
Who would do such a thing? Dangerfield did not say, nor did he have any details on the nature of the disruption, but according to an e-mail shared with The Appeal, it was “KGO.”
Huh? There were too many passes for KGO’s liking? Bloggers killed the radio and television stars? A representative for the radio side of KGO said she asked all of the reporters at the station about this; nobody there knew anything about it, she said.
That leaves the TV station KGO, the local ABC-7 affiliate which is home of Dan Noyes — whose I-Team we hold in very high esteem — as the culprit. No matter whodunit, was the media scene really that crowded?