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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Occupy LA: The Death of Mainstream Media

RETHINKING LA -The LAPD’s full-force eviction of Occupy LA from City Hall Park left a very crowded high road in its wake as the Mayor, the LAPD, and the occupiers all shared credit for their commitment to respect, restraint, and cooperation as the two month long occupation came to an end.


An estimated 1400 LAPD officers participated in the well planned operation to evict the Occupy LA encampment which had swelled to about 1000 participants who had prepared for the confrontation with training in nonviolent civil disobedience.

As the LAPD shed its hard core reputation and as the Occupy LA movement held to its nonviolent principles, it was the media who caved in and who were left behind as casualties on the battlefield.

Two nights earlier, the evening of the Mayor’s deadline, it was the media who drew the LAPD’s first threat of arrest when they swarmed to the Occupy LA encampment in such numbers that they prevented Commander Andy Smith from crossing the street from LAPD headquarters to City Hall.

The next night, the LAPD sent an email to the limited number of  “legitimate” media contacts in their files, giving two hour notice of a meeting where the LAPD would conduct a lottery to select the dozen media representative who would have access to the Occupy LA eviction.

While the notion of “legitimate” media is a subject worthy of great debate, it’s safe to say that the era of print, radio, and television dominance has long passed. The LAPD’s commitment to an antiquated paradigm of communication is in stark contrast to its demonstration of innovation in tactics and operations.

The LAPD participates in a notification service known as Nixle that allows the public to opt-in for law enforcement and public safety communications. Several days before the Occupy LA eviction, the LAPD sent out a message inviting the public to text “OLA999” to 888-777 in order to participate in the LAPD Occupy LA Information Messaging System.

The LAPD then sent a message on the 24th saying there would be no eviction that night and another message on the 28th asking the Media to move their trucks from Main Street.

That was it, no more, nothing.

Maybe the LAPD felt so comfortable surrounded by old friends from the “legitimate” media that they went back to their “pager” notification protocols.

As the LAPD Public Information Officers (PIOs) and those media representatives selected to participate in the LAPD’s approved Media Pool surveyed the Occupy LA encampment on the evening of the eviction operation, the “legitimate” media’s tenuous grip on its Fourth Estate role weakened as most pool members agreed to abstain from phone calls and from Twitter activity.

Two members of the pool broke the Twitter embargo but @StoltzeFrankly stayed safe with tweets such as "#OccupyLA massive police operation against OLA begins.” and “#OccupyLA Police issue ten minute dispersal order.” while @AntonioNBCLA forgot the #occupyLa hashtag and has only 138 followers so his tweets failed to find an audience.

The concept of a Media Pool isn’t new, it’s often used in controlled spaces such as courtrooms and it involves selecting press representatives who agree to feed their reports to a pool so that all participants share in the information, releases, photos, video, etc.

The problem here is that the Media Pool consisted of only media outlets approved by the LAPD, an organization that was unable to explain the process for certification other than that it involved “a letter from your boss explaining why you need an LAPD Press Pass.”  

The most disturbing failure of the “legitimate” media came when KCAL9’s helicopter coverage of the LAPD’s Dodger Stadium staging grounds went dark, victim to self-imposed censorship that came with the explanation "To protect the integrity of the police operation we are not showing you that shot right now."

As the anticipated battle between the LAPD and Occupy LA turned into a tightly orchestrated and well-choreographed display of professionalism and principle, the real struggle turned out to be one between the Main Stream Media and Citizen Journalism.

As the MSM kowtowed to the LAPD and traded their Fourth Estate cards for LAPD Press Passes, it was the public who fed the world with words, experiences, pictures, videos, commentary, narrative, interviews, and perspective. The tools were cell phones and mini-cams which fed Twitter, Facebook, and UStream.

The Main Stream Media television broadcasts required trucks and personnel which resulted in minimal coverage and maximum commercial breaks while reporters, tethered to their team, struggled to find the story.

The LA Times, to its credit, learned from the Citizen Journalists and rigged a UStream camera on top of their building for the night of the eviction, feeding a constant stream of video of the 1st and Spring intersection.

But, they were learning, not leading and it was individuals such as CrossXBones and Occupy Oakland Live who provided constant access to the encampment, to the police, to the spectators in the street, to the media, and to Mayor Villaraigosa and Chief Beck when they stepped out onto 1st Street to recap the eviction.

Let there be no mistake, the City of LA has much to be proud of, including the LAPD which established a new standard for peaceful engagement and the Occupy LA participants who stayed true to the principles of peaceful protest.

While the issue of 1st Amendment rights continues to get debated and the issue of the 4th and 14th Amendments gets overlooked and forgotten, there is still room to celebrate the fact that the LAPD and Occupy LA both left the battlefield victorious and with no casualties.

On the other hand, the Main Stream Media fell on its sword and dealt itself a near-mortal blow that has robbed it of any claim of “legitimacy” and any hope of sympathy from the public it betrayed.

Rising to the occasion comes the Citizen Journalist, UStream hosts such as SkyAdams and Spencer, photographers such as Alex ThompsonAlfredo Hernandez, Ivan Therrien and Richie Thomassen, and countless contributors to Twitter and Facebook that kept the conversation going, even as the “legitimate” media went silent and betrayed its audience.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at:       Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net .)  Photo credits: Alex Thompson (top); DailyKos.com (bottom)
–cw

Tags: Occupy LA, LAPD, LA Times, mainstream media






CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 96
Pub: Dec 2, 2011

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