Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who Gets to Decide Whom the Media Is? Part 10 September 20, 2010 MacQuigg Unilaterally Taking Up the Debate

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Since writing this post, City of Albuquerque Director of Communications Chris Huffman-Ramirez, above right, has left the administration of Mayor Richard Berry and is now a general assignment reporter at KOB TV Eyewitness News. A former Republican political operative, Dayna Crawford Gardner, left, has replaced Huffman-Ramirez as director of communications. No administrative philosophical change in attitude about who the press or who are journalists accompanied the switch.
September 20, 2010
Ched MacQuigg unilaterally took up my cause on his site Diogenes' Six of not getting an adequate response from Mayor Berry's public information officers, without my asking him to do so. Though I had no problem with his raising the issues; I also provided him access to my photo archive.
MacQuigg wrote a number of postings about Mayor Berry, above and City PIOs:
Monday, September 20, 2010, Berry's integrity stained by aide
Monday, September 20, 2010, Berry points to two bad apples
Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Berry's credibility seriously undermined
Tuesday, September 21, 2010, More PIO disappointment.
Monday, September 27, 2010, Why am I standing alone?
Friday, November 19, 2010, Berry disses bloggers
Saturday, November 20, 2010, PIOs don't get to ask questions
Monday, November 29, 2010, Berry still hiding from the press.
Sunday, December 05, 2010, Journal coverage v blog coverage
Wednesday, December 08, 2010, The PIO pledge
Saturday, February 06, 2010, The Darren White Show
Monday, September 20, 2010, Berry points to two bad apples
Monday, September 20, 2010, Berry's integrity stained by aide
Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Berry's credibility seriously undermined
Tuesday, September 21, 2010, More PIO disappointment
Friday, November 19, 2010, Berry disses bloggers
Saturday, November 20, 2010, PIOs don't get to ask questions
Monday, November 29, 2010, Berry still hiding from the press
Sunday, December 05, 2010, Journal coverage v blog coverage
Wednesday, December 08, 2010, The PIO pledge
Friday, February 18, 2011, No confidence in Darren White
Saturday, March 12, 2011, Was TJ fired for telling the truth?
Thursday, June 23, 2011, Darren who?
Thursday, June 23, 2011, Waiting for our phone call
Wednesday, July 13, 2011, Huffman-Ramirez arrogance growing
Monday, July 18, 2011, Is Huffman-Ramirez going down?
Monday, October 03, 2011, Berry's credibility takes a hit
Thursday, October 06, 2011, Berry spins his ass-handing

MacQuigg exchanged a series of e-mails with Director of Communications Chris Huffman-Ramirez about the Fire PIO identification issue.

Huffman-Ramirez wrote that MacQuigg could freely express his opinions on his blogspot.
So what’s wrong with this picture?

In MacQuigg’s series of e-mails exchanges with Chris Huffman-Ramirez about PIOs responding to requests, wrote he could freely express his opinions on his blogspot, but Huffman-Ramirez would respond to real journalists not bloggers and for MacQuigg to:
... leave news reporting to the professionals who have been trained and educated to do so.
I disagree with Huffman-Ramirez’s assertion that MacQuigg is not entitled to be considered a member of the press or media. The words are synonymous, the online thesaurus for press starts with the example: Freedom of the press, The MEDIA.

Let’s look at Press as defined in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Definition of PRESS

a: printing press
b: the act or the process of printing 
c: a printing or publishing establishment
a: the gathering and publishing or broadcasting of news : journalism
b: newspapers, periodicals, and often radio and television news broadcasting
c: news reporters, publishers, and broadcasters
d: comment or notice in newspapers and periodicals
Let’s look at Media as defined in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
media noun, often attributive
plural me·di·as
Definition of MEDIA
1: a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression; especially: medium
2a:  a singular or plural in construction : mass media
2 b: plural : members of the mass media
Usage Discussion of MEDIA
The singular media and its plural medias seem to have originated in the field of advertising over 70 years ago; they are still so used without stigma in that specialized field. In most other applications media is used as a plural of medium. The popularity of the word in references to the agencies of mass communication is leading to the formation of a mass noun, construed as a singular there's no basis for it. You know, the news media gets on to something — Edwin Meese 3d the media is less interested in the party's policies — James Lewis, Guardian Weekly. This use is not as well established as the mass-noun use of data and is likely to incur criticism especially in writing.
plural of medium
media event noun
Definition of MEDIA EVENT:
a publicity event staged for coverage by the news media Examples of MEDIA EVENT
The President's visit to the school was a major media event.
social media noun pl but singular or pl in construction
Definition of SOCIAL MEDIA:
forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
mass medium noun
plural mass media
Definition of MASS MEDIUM:
a medium of communication (as newspapers, radio, or television) that is designed to reach the mass of the people —usually used in plural
1 me·di·um noun \ˈmē-dē-əm\
plural mediums or me·dia
Definition of MEDIUM
1 a: something in a middle position
 b: a middle condition or degree: MEAN
2: a means of effecting or conveying something: as a
(1): a substance regarded as the means of transmission of a force or effect
(2): a surrounding or enveloping substance
(3): the tenuous material (as gas and dust) in space that exists outside large agglomerations of matter (as stars)
b: plural usually media
(1): a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment — compare MASS MEDIUM
(2):  a publication or broadcast that carries advertising
(3):  a mode of artistic expression or communication
(4): something (as a magnetic disk) on which information may be stored
c: go-between, intermediary
d: plural mediums : an individual held to be a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits
e: material or technical means of artistic expression…
Definition of REPORT 
transitive verb
a: to give an account of : relate
b: to describe as being in a specified state
a : to serve as carrier of (a message)
b : to relate the words or sense of (something said)
c : to make a written record or summary of
d (1) : to watch for and write about the newsworthy aspects or developments of : cover
d (2) : to prepare or present an account of for broadcast
legal definition of: Liberty of the Press
The right to print and publish the truth, from good motives, and for justifiable ends. 3 Johns. Cas. 394.
1. The abuse of the right is punished criminally, by indictment; civilly, by action.
2. This right is secured by the constitution of the United States. Amendments, art.
Vide Judge Cooper's Treatise on the Law of Libel, and the Liberty of the Press, passim; and article Libel.
A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Section 17 of the New Mexico Constitution:
Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury; and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted.
Let us look at how else one might be able to define the media.

The State of New Mexico wrote a shield law to protect the disclosure of news sources in 1973, long before the concept of the world-wide-web was envisioned. It is fathomable that any judge today would agree that online communications would now qualify to the limited list mentioned in this statute. The statute contradicts itself when it tries to define what entities are protected and yet clearly ignores: the publication of pamphlets, books, production of documentary films, videos, academic and scholarly works, and the list could go on.

It is pretty clear that this statute was written at the behest of “newspaper, magazine, press association, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast or television station or network, or cable television system,” for those who engage in “breaking news,” or what some in the industry call “spot news” or “hard news.”

However, there are many others who relay information to citizens that gather facts from the same people that those listed in the statute do, but just because they are not on that limited list, are they not entitled to the same protection under the equal protection clause of due process found in the fifth and fourteenth amendments?

The other factor that is so glaring is the commercial aspect in the definitions as found in:
New Mexico State Statute 38-6-7. News Sources and Information; Mandatory Disclosure Prohibited; definitions; special procedure for prevention of injustice issue. (1973)
B. For the purpose of this act [this section]:
(7) "journalist" means any person who, for gain is engaged in gathering, preparing, editing, analyzing or commenting on news for a newspaper, magazine, news agency, news or feature syndicate, press association or wire service, or who was so engaged at the time a source or information was procured;
(8) "newscaster" means any person who, for gain is engaged in gathering, preparing, editing, analyzing, commenting on or broadcasting news for radio or television transmission, or who was so engaged at the time a source or information was procured; and....
It depends on where one looks for definitions of public press or news media in the law.
12-10-17. Proclamation of emergency.
… The proclamation becomes effective immediately upon its signing by the governor, but the governor shall give public notice of its contents through the public press and other news media.
So when Huffman-Ramirez writes he will respond to real journalists not bloggers and tells MacQuigg and through him, other bloggers including me to:
“... leave news reporting to the professionals who have been trained and educated to do so.”
I challenge Huffman-Ramirez's statement and will put my resume up against his.

I am J-school trained and I have, for more than 45-years freelanced for television, radio, all levels print and on-line. I’ve been published by media organizations at the international, national, local, and even governmental levels. I have competed and won several professional competitions. Once in a while, I get paid; even by Huffman-Ramirez’ precious federally licensed local TV stations.

The definition of news is even more fleeting than is the definition of media or press.

Everybody knows what news is. However, not everybody agrees what news is.

Within newsrooms there is an understanding that some things are always recognized as news. It’s easy to know that whether myth, religious, or popular culture, the representations of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse  would surely constitute what is news.

According to differing sources, from the Biblical New Testament’s Book of Revelations, to Greek and Roman mythology, to popular culture, any person engaged in seeking, gathering, reporting, and publishing information, would recognize as hard news the metaphoric, cataclysmic forces, and destructive nature the horsemen represent.

The riders are mounted upon equine of different colors, each symbolizing significant and terrorizing events:
riding on a white horse – Conquest, (civil war),
riding on a fiery red horse – War,
riding on a black horse – Famine, and
riding on a pale horse – Death or Pestilence,
However, the news is more than events which people believe are signaling the end of their existence, personally or universally.

Former CBS and CNN network news correspondent, Deborah Potter wrote an article, “What is News? News depends on a variety of factors.” It is taken from her book “Handbook of Independent Journalism” a U.S. Department of State publication.

As an academic, Potter, and the authors of many other journalistic texts categorize news as having “news values”:
Currency, and
Headlines on a recent Albuquerque Journal front page demonstrate several of the news values. Why does a drunk driving conviction deserve such big and bold headline? It is due to the proximity and oddity based on a lawyer who made his reputation in the community with what some considered obnoxious advertising that he sued drunk driver who were involved in accidents. His persona as the knight on a white horse was challenged by his own involvement in a case of physical impairment.

The facts compared to other similar cases wouldn't warrant such a headline. The fact the lawyer sold his practice a few years ago did not have any impact on the writer's sensationalizing the eye-grabbing headline. Ron Bell's conviction has been overturned upon appeal.

Sometimes people just sit back and let the network or local television anchor tell them what news is. Some people like their news given to them in keeping with their particular liking.

Right here in our little burgh, media abounds. One can receive 20 local television stations. You can receive network backed news from at least a handful of local stations and on the national level, with cable or satellite, you can more than double that number. You can even find some international news especially from the Spanish speaking stations, and the British Broadcasting Company can be found on the local PBS stations.

Many believe the word NEWS is made up of the first letter of the four compass points: North, East, West, and South, or that the English King had runners report to court from the various far off regions of the kingdom and would call for reports from those directions, and eventually simply called for the NEWS. Alas, not true, leave it to the French, nouvelles, meaning news.

Those in the news trade, whatever medium they work from, tend to develop a common news sense. It is why you tend to hear the same stories presented by the various outlets, with only slight variation.

There is what is known as enterprise newsgathering. Reporters and photographers will find a subject, which represents a larger issue, often a disquieting topic, which might cause some level of controversy in the society. Topics like homelessness, poverty, unemployment, the ravages of dreaded diseases: cancer, HIV/AIDS, or premature births requiring intensive care, quality of life deaths. The list can go on forever. Storytelling of an individual affected by any of these larger issues can be presented as, this could just as easily happened to someone you know, or even yourself, helps bring a personal understanding of a problem.

There is a journalistic theory that those who present news have a burden to go beyond just what the consumer wants. News presentation must also provide what citizens need to know keep up with important issues that effects their society at different levels.

I further challenge Huffman-Ramirez's statement of leaving news reporting to trained and educated professionals.
I know a high level Albuquerque Journal editorial page writer, Sharon Hendrix, left, who is paid very well to attempt to shape the thinking of our community, and who never completed college. However, there is no doubt from talking with Journalism School graduates who worked for her as an editor in the past, that the lack of formal education didn't hold back any harsh criticism or tight writing requirements. Because of cut backs the J-School graduates are not working and the "uneducated" are.

Yet the ability of these untrained and uneducated journalists is not glaringly apparent. More often, the quality of the journalism you receive, especially in this state, is more dependent on underlying editorial stance of the corporate media than it does of the individual reporter or photographer. I doubt even Huffman-Ramirez, without having personal knowledge, can distinguish them when they act professionally.

A journalist is one who keeps a journal, a correspondent, one who corresponds, and a freelancer is one who provides journalistic services to disseminators of information.

Freelancing is an honorable and time-honored journalistic endeavor. Yet it is often done outside the confines of organized commercial news organizations.

There is another distinction of journalist beyond staff that governmental agents conveniently ignore while news organizations depend on greatly to get their products out – the “stringer”.

The difference between a stringer and a freelancer is that the stringer has a formal ongoing working agreement in place; whereas the freelancer may or may not have any working agreement in place. A freelancer may be hired on an assignment basis with a news organization as an independent contractor.

The term stringer is based on they way writers were paid. Once that newspaper was printed, the paymaster would take a sting and measure the length of the article to determine the rate of pay. A string was used, because a story might cover two or more columns and a string was considered better than using a ruler and adding up the column lengths Once the string had the determined length of the story was it measured on a pica pole (a typesetters ruler).

Yet a freelancer may also work totally independent of any news organization and approach editors with enterprise work, which is created by the freelancer on a speculative basis. A freelancer’s pay is negotiated based on the work used and based on the news value of the story.

Freelance photographers, in particular can demand exorbitant rates for pictures that the public demands.

Consider the value of the pictures taken by an amateur photographer Charles Porter IV of Oklahoma City Police Sgt. John Avera handing Fire Capt. Chris Fields Baylee Almon pulled from the wreckage of the bombed Alfred P. Murrah Federal government building April 19,1995.

The Associated Press understood the news value and were fully aware that the public would be moved by the image and bought his pictures, which went on to be the 1996 Pulitzer Prize Winners for the Spot News Photography category. He hadn’t made a living from his camera work, but looking at how many publications have used his work without hesitation as to its authenticity or technical quality, no one would question the professionalism of his work. The Pulitzer Prize awarded him $3,000.

Porter’s photograph has hard news value, but consider the amounts of money paid to Paparazzi. Their work is driven by a celebrity-obsessed culture, which might or might not otherwise be considered as news, especially against the definition of governmental PIOs.

Yet MacQuigg’s Diogenes' Six, above left, Jose Z. Garcia, middle, La Politica: New Mexico! La Voz del Valle del Sur, and the late Barbara Wold and Mary Ellen Broderick, above right, of Democracy for New Mexico, none of whom posts advertising, but are involved in the dissemination of information of public interest to a limited or targeted audience. No small numbers when you consider the potential audiences to be anyone interested in the Albuquerque School system, State politics, border and drug gang violence in Northern Mexico, or the New Mexico Democratic Party. Garcia has suspended publication because he was nominated as Secretary of Higher Education Department by Gov. Susana Martinez.
Others, including Matt Reichbach, Joe Monahan, and Heath Haussamen, more or less fit the definition in the shield law because they sell advertisement on their sites. Does that meet the test of “for gain,” found in the statute?

What about the New Mexico Independent, which recently restricted its operations; it sells ads yet was for the most part was grant funded. The staff was paid. Some might argue that NMI was a conglomeration of bloggers, but they were an organization that would meet the definition in the shield law, even though the product’s funding was not based on “gain” as much as serving a purpose desired by the philanthropic wishes of their benefactors. Rio Grande Foundation’s mission statement reads that it “is a research institute dedicated to increasing liberty and prosperity for all of New Mexico's citizens.”

Capitol Report New Mexico is among a number of sites funded by Rio Grande Foundation.
Capitol Report New Mexico started as a magazine with a Spring 2007 issue with Harold Morgan as editor and with co-publisher Jack Swickard. There were also issues in Fall 2007 and Winter 2008.

The project went dormant as consideration of reviving it as an online commercial product was explored. Beginning with a January 2009 issue Capitol Report New Mexico was published as a newsprint irregular monthly with a grant from the Rio Grande Foundation. February 2009, March-April 2009, May-June 2009, May-June 2009, August-September 2009, January 2010.

I was the photographer for the print versions of Capitol Report New Mexico, with Harold Morgan as publisher and editor, I experienced no editorial interference from the Rio Grande Foundation or their President Paul Gessing.

Swickard is a member of RGF’s Board of Directors, but was not actively involved in the newsprint iteration as he had been in the magazine’s publication. He also sits on the Board of Directors for New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

Capitol Report New Mexico is now one of two blog sites using the same name. The other site is hosted by Morgan, the original editor, and I still provide photographs to him on occasion. Morgan writes several newsletters and a syndicated column for 11 newspapers throughout the state covering 40 percent of the state’s population.population.

Other Rio Grande Foundation sponsored sites are:

New Mexico Watchdog who's original Editor Jim Scarantino is a lawyer from Pennsylvania who has been very political in both Parties. He seems to have written for more local publications than even I have. He began New Mexico Watchdog.

Scarantino is a personable man and we are more than civil with each other. I have been critical of some of his postings, believing he fell short of making his case. We can disagree passionately, then go to lunch and enjoy other conversations.

Scarantino posted a video by Steve McAllister on the New Mexico Watchdog, which used two of my photographs of Manny Aragon.

Both pictures were credited to the blog spots from which they were lifted: Peter St. Cyr’s, “What’s the Word?” and “New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan.” Neither Scarantino nor McAllister sought a license to use the pictures.
Scarantino also lifted the ever-popular Diane Denish photograph, which she lifted for use on EMILY's List, and the State Republicans on “NM GOP "SAME GAME" TV AD ON DIANE DENISH.”

Errors of Enchantment: Why is New Mexico not realizing its potential? A weblog of postings mostly by RGF’s President Paul Gessing, below.
NewMexicootes.org, is a site that tracks State Legislators voting records. New Mexico Liberty: Life, Liberty, Politics and Policy in the Land of Enchantment! A discussion forum site hosted by RGF.
What about me?

In my statement in the “ About Me,” section of this blog page. “Original photographs, photographic and video services are available upon request.” It is the most subtle form of advertising I could come up with.

In the past year or so, I have sold pictures from my sites to three book publishers, among others. Is that enough gain to qualify for protection under the shield law? Much of my material derives its value based on its archival and historical nature.

Is qualification under the Shield Law the best test for who is a journalist or a member of a free press? Is the refusal of one or more governmental public information officers to acknowledge an individual, like me, as a member of the press, by denying me access to government press events or media releases, grounds to deny me coverage of the Shield Law? I rely on the Shield Law in protecting those who provide me with information on the grounds that I will protect their identity if called to testify.
To all my sources who have asked me for anonymity, your identity is safe with me.
I will not identify my sources of the information I use to post.
There is a fair amount of case law that not only protects you, but also protects me from having to testify before a grand jury. Law enforcement is required to exhaust all other leads before approaching the media.
I won’t refuse to testify if called, but I will invoke the Shield Law. I will actively resist any effort to obtain a District Court order compelling disclosure. If ordered, I will immediately appeal, under the law, for a hearing before the Supreme Court and actively resist the efforts at their trial De Novo (Latin for all over again, as if there had been no hearing in front of the District Court).
If you are an electronic media reporter and consider yourself a member of the free press you don’t have to be a J-School graduate to be a journalist, but if you want, it wouldn’t hurt to read Potter’s 60 odd page, Handbook of Independent Journalism. You would at least have an understanding of the theory of “professional journalism”. At least it is how the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs, which published the handbook, sees it. I include this particular publication because the government, or at least the State Department, seems willing to teach their staffs who are going to other countries about how American journalism is supposed to work.
I chose to use Potters Handbook because it is a governmental publication for a U.S. Department of State's outreach to other countries, through their America.gov; Engaging the World. 
In choosing a government site, I hoped Huffman-Ramirez, his fellow city public information officers, and pios in other government agencies, at all levels, recognize how the Department of State puts the restrictions of the First Amendment into their actual example.
Huffman-Ramirez, above, points for KOAT TV Reporter Rod Green, the way to an anteroom where Mayor Richard Berry was going to hold a press opportunity after his public presentation of his Economic Development Plan for Albuquerque before NAIOPA Commercial Real Estate Development Association New Mexico Chapter, March 29, 2010.

Though Huffman-Ramirez spoke to all the other media on site, he did not inform me; I had to learn about it by asking one of the TV photographers.

Huffman-Ramirez also wrote MacQuigg about the photograph I had taken and sought the assistance of the Fire PIO in identifying the officers:
Regarding the photo. As anyone who studied journalism knows, private photographs are not considered public documents, therefore are not subject to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. The act is very clear about what is covered and what is not. A photograph taken by a private citizen is not subject to public inspection. Also, as any trained photojournalist knows, it is exclusively the responsibility of the photographer to identify subjects in a photo.

Huffman-Ramirez' comment was aimed at my attempt to identify fire department administrators. Seen on the left, he is right on the first count, “private photographs are not considered public document.” However, his statement is spurious, he chose to miss the point, the identities of the two highest ranking fire department officers are a matter of public record, whether my photo of them is or is not. He and all other city pios have a public obligation to answer the question without hesitation, evasiveness, obfuscation, or questioning the purpose of the inquiry.

To his second point, “…any trained photojournalist knows, it is exclusively the responsibility of the photographer to identify subjects in a photo,” he is also right, to a degree.

However, there is point where it is not appropriate to attempt to get the identification of the subject of the photograph due to the nature and circumstances of the event. In this case, the highest level of fire supervisors were concentrating on observing, assessing, planning, directing, and controlling the suppression of a multi-million dollar fire in extremely windy conditions; to assure the safety and welfare of the community and in particular the firefighters.

Even I would have considered any approach and interruption of the Chiefs’ concentration to be an interference with public officials in the performance of their duties. The responsibility to identify people in pictures does not shift, it is still mine, but using the PIO is always an acceptable way of getting complete and accurate information.

As I wrote AFD’s Public Information Officer Melissa Romero, when I requested her help to, confirm the identity of the two men in the photograph:
I rather get it right than have you write me that I got it wrong.
Huffman-Ramirez goes on:
You should also know that our team of public information officers are extremely responsive to our credentialed local and national media.
The argument centers around the word, “credential(s) or (ed),” defined by MicroSoft’s Tool Thesaurus as, “a letter, badge or other official identification that confirms somebody’s position or status.”

My badge is my camera; it lets everybody know, “I am a photographer,” my official identification is this publication, available worldwide for anyone to view. How many times have I stood next to very well paid journalists and been accepted by them, without their distinguishing me from the press pool.
Huffman-Ramirez is being an elitist. Just because he worked in a commercial organization, he believes that makes it professional.

A profession is based on three qualities: it has its own language, code of ethics, and is self-policing. A professional is one who has a bearing, practices, adheres to standards and codes of ethics; it is not based solely on being paid a professional wage. Monetary gain is not a prerequisite to professionalism.

The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary:
Definitions of Profession
a: a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation
b: a principal calling, vocation, or employment
c: the whole body of persons engaged in a calling
Definitions of Professional
a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession
b: engaged in one of the learned professions
(1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession
(2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
a: participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs
b: having a particular profession as a permanent career
c: engaged in by persons receiving financial return
3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession
2 professional noun:
one that is professional; especially: one that engages in a pursuit or activity professionally.
However, it appears Huffman-Ramirez, does not follow a professional code of ethics, as he clearly does not profess the tenants held by an organization like the National Association of Government Communicators. Whose first tenant is to:
Conduct themselves professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness, responsibility, accountability to the public, and adherence to generally accepted standards of good taste.
Nor, does Huffman-Ramirez follow the University of Missouri School of Journalism’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Code of Ethical Practice for Public Information and Media.

Nor, The United States Department of State’s Info U.S.A. which has a Codes of Ethics for Media and Journalism Ethics: Codes of Conduct.

Huffman-Ramirez does not recognize the existence or impact of a “new” form of media and apparently doesn’t keep up on the readings. In a 10-year old essay, “Crafting the News in a Digital Age”, Deputy Director and Managing Editor of Associated Press, Broadcast Division’s Brad Kalbfeld, wrote for the Department of State’s Internet, “Communities Linking the World,” of the importance of journalists being present at news events to add credibility to what is otherwise posted on the internet.

More recently, in the November-December 2010, issue of “Quill, a magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists,” its cover article asks a pressing question, “Sunrise, Sunset: the University of Colorado - Boulder considers discontinuing its j-school. Is it a new day or dark day in journalism education?”

The question is how to teach journalism in the technological age. The problem has probably more to do with how universities require a certain number of classes for a major, but journalism is now more than simply writing. The technology is, or maybe even more complex than what journalism looked like as little as a decade ago. Commercial media opportunities for the traditional news gathering outlets are constantly decreasing. However, that doesn’t mean there are fewer opportunities for journalists; they are simply different.

The requirements of how work is done have shifted dramatically. Fewer and fewer jobs are relegated as single tasks anymore. Multi-media expertise is now part of the new paradigm. Journalists are now expected to be able to master and use multiple disciplines. Where once a news organization would send a reporter and photographer team to cover an event and the reporter was never required to write a word because he would call in his story to “rewrite”, a stenographer who polished the story adding other necessary information to produce a piece of breaking news for the printing press.

Now the “he” is just as likely to be “she” and there is no “rewrite” except at the highest levels. Now reporters are as likely to carry a digital recorder and take their own photographs and video and not only will you find their work in newsprint, but also on the Internet and within the website the story may expand to a multi-media production. Staff still photographers are being pressed into bringing back video as well.

A newsroom of a major paper is filled with redundancy, layers of editors on top of editors.

“On a print story there are seven people who read my story before it reaches the press,” said T.J. Wilham, then the Albuquerque Journal’s police beat reporter, told my UNM Multi media journalism class. “But, when I put up a version of the same story (to the paper’s website) I’m the only one to read it for errors.” Wilham was at the time of this writing, the city’s communications director for public safety.

The test of who is a journalist might be found by examining such things as how a traditional news organization like the New York Times views the Internet as a competitor. In a research paper, “Journalism Codes of Ethics Now Focused More on Financial Success, J-School Researchers Say” Two University of Missouri School of Journalism Professors, Bonnie Brennen and Lee Wilkins, proffer that the Times prohibits their staff from freelancing that competes, citing the company’s ethics statement.
Times' own offerings on television or the Internet... As the paper moves further into these new fields, its direct competitors, clients or potential clients will undoubtedly grow in number. New York Times Codes of Ethics.
Huffman-Ramirez argued with MacQuigg that he recognizes those who own a printing press or are required by the Federal Communications Commission to have a broadcast license to operate.

Being paid makes Journalists commercial and there is no requirement that commercial is the test, or even a better test or that it is more deserving of greater recognition.
"I assume journalistic purposes under this statute could be somebody who has a Xerox machine in his basement," Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court Antonin Scalia asked during oral arguments in Los Angeles Police Dept. v. United Reporting Publishing Corp 528 U.S. 32 (1999).
During the founding fathers’ time, the “press” was the ownership of a printing press. Newspapers were political organs; now the “press” is through the reproduction of information to any number of individual medium for public dissemination.

The FCC started issuing broadcast licenses in 1934 to regulate radio signals that, because of strength or close geographic proximity, were causing interference.

The issuance of a FCC license does not grant any special distinction on a radio or television station to be recognized by government as being allowed the “privilege” to provide news coverage to the exclusion of any other medium engaged in the dissemination of governmental activity or information.

There was a time, before President Ronald Reagan, a former radio sports announcer, eliminated the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine by Executive Order; prior to it being struck down part of the requirements for holding a license was the station had to operate in the "public interest" or common good of the community and provide News, weather and public service programming. The fairness doctrine mandated diverse ideas be provided to the communities broadcasters served.

Democratic New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, left, (seen at a Senate Energy Committee hearing), supported re-imposing the Fairness Doctrine while on 770 AM KKOB‘s Jim Villanucci show in October 2008, as reported by Cyber News Service, a self admitted alternative news source whose efforts are to provide a different view than what they see as a liberal bias in many news outlets.

"I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view instead of always hammering away at one side of the political," Bingaman said.

Critics of the Fairness Doctrine call it the Gag Rule; arguing that conservative talk radio stations would be damaged if they had to give equal time to their opposition. Villanucci argued that in the Albuquerque there were several broadcast stations providing politically countered messages. Some would argue that the Fairness Doctrine did and would again go far beyond the left/right, conservative/liberal, Democrat/Republican talk radio programming by allowing a wider range of alternative view points missing today.

Critics claim any introduction for the Fairness Doctrine's re-imposition imposes upon the business model of broadcasters. Others point out the air waves belong to the people, but are regulated in the public's interest by the government and therefore, political speech should be balanced.

Huffman-Ramirez wrote to MacQuigg:
As Mayor Berry stated in the press conference that you attended, this Administration has a great track record with our local media. In fact, this Administration could argue that we are one of the most transparent municipalities in the nation.
Huffman-Ramirez might make the argument, but it won’t hold up against New York City’s new policy allowing bloggers and others publishing online to obtain police issued credentials, according to a March 02, 2010, story, “Bloggers Now Eligible For Press Passes In NYC,” by Wendy Davis, on MediaPost NEWS OnLine Media Daily.

In the summer of 1969, I went to the New York Institute of Photography and was also doing freelance work when I applied for NYPD press credentials. I was denied because I did not represent a media outlet that had an office in New York City.
It didn’t affect me in any way, as I covered a number of events and incidents where I crossed police lines (the privilege derived from having an issued NYPD press badge). I was never stopped from or challenged for having crossed a police line, as indicated by a sawhorse warning.
I could have been stopped or challenged many times as with the police officer, two pictures above, delivering a message to a fire official at the scene of a restaurant fire, below.
The area around New York City Hall had many of these sawhorses, along with real horses available because of the number public events, protests, and demonstrations which regularly occur.
I was able to photograph the then youngest member of the British Parliament without an NYPD Press Pass. Bernadette Devlin, below, an Irish socialist who received the Key to the City from Mayor John Lindsey at City Hall, reflected in the window as she is chauffeured away.
The new application process has changed a bit in 42 years, now allowing for independents, to be considered for meeting the eligibility requirements for the department’s press-relations office to issue credentials.

The NYPD issued press badges were next to useless during operations against Occupy Wall Street Demonstrators. Reporters and photographers, whether they displayed the badge or not, were man handles, abused and many arrested in direct violation of the NYPD Patrol Guide Section 212-49 on press relations:
...members of the service will not interfere with the video taping or the photographing of incidents in public places. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or harassing the photographer constitutes censorship.
Even after the Mayor, Commissioner and Chief reiterated to the police force their position on upholding the press relations section and threatening disciplinary action, the treatment of the press, mostly photographers, continued in what appeared to be attempts to censor what was getting printed in newspapers.
In Albuquerque, police lines are formed using "crime scene tape." In the good old days, before cheap printing on yellow plastic, we used half-inch yellow nylon rope to secure a scene.

There are problems elsewhere in the country for a PIO who is doing his job. Los Angeles County Superior Court Public Information Officer Allan Parachini was fired recently. Court officials say he received a bribe for leaking information to TMZ.com. Parachini denied the charges saying he was removed for disagreeing with the chief judge and court administrator about releasing information sought by journalist that he found to be public records.

Huffman-Ramirez’s position is not based upon the professional practices of individuals, rather it is based on being identified with a commercial media entity or for the content or potential content of the message of a particular independent journalist or member of the press.
MacQuigg has been working with me in web casting the State Senate for the past couple of years, and covering various interim legislative committees as well as gathering news, as seen here, second from left, with audio recorder, at an impromptu press conference with Gov. Bill Richardson.

MacQuigg, like many, has a number of scattered media activities in which he is engaged.

Governmental agencies in New Mexico abandoned issuing press credentials by the late 1970s.

So, even if Huffman-Ramirez could get back in the business of issuing press credentials, he would be hard pressed to deny them to the new press/media, which now consists of online media, facebook and twitter communicators.

Huffman-Ramirez's definition is misguided when he continually uses “journalist” rather than the broader Constitutional word, “press.”

MacQuigg has it partially right:
All journalists are members of the free press, but not all members of the free press are journalists.
MacQuigg’s quote was made during a discussion with Gwyenth Doland, who hosted a panel discussion for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists recently.

He was referencing the SPJ’s code of ethics and saying he was not a “journalist” because he did not adhere to their strict code, but he defended his position as a member of the free press.
The part he got he got wrong is, we know a lot of “journalists” who are neither members of SPJ, nor have ever read their code of ethics, yet they either meet the requirements of the code or break them for other ethical reasons. The existence of a code does not make it the only code. SPJ’s code of ethics maybe no better or worse than some other, written or unwritten code that an individual inculcates into the way they engage in the craft. No code can cover every eventually and a person’s style may dictate how they present their subject.

There was a time prior to radio and television when there was little or no personality involved in presenting the news. There were no by-lines.

When Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844, a new means of reporting news from distant places was created. Gone were the pony express and carrier pigeon, replaced by the by-line “Telegraph-News.”

The thought was that readers did not need to know who wrote what in a paper because it was the paper’s voice not an employee’s. In many cases the paper was written entirely by one person; the editor printer.

Through the literary magazines’ use of well-known writers, by-lines came into fashion. Now by-lined reporters especially on radio and television may take on celebrity or even cult status. Some anchors now are nothing more then readers of other’s works. Media has also become entertainment. Pundits have taken news to news-analysis; they attempt to dissect news for their audiences. The public is told how to think. Cable television news is divided into political ideologies. People talk about news as having come from some radio or television talk show host or a particular network.

Ramirez-Huffman would now have to contend with several court rulings on establishing written and published standards for issuing such credentials. He would almost immediately find the effort so tasking that his policy would be to invite the free press to come cover the events he is involved with to anyone who asks to be notified through his already existent e-mail address book. He should adopt the language from the state's open meetings act that requires notice to media:
That notice shall include broadcast stations licensed by the federal communications commission and newspapers of general circulation that have provided a written request for such notice.
(Emphasis added)
The word include means that broadcast licenses and newspapers of general circulation are not to be excluded from other media that has requested such notice; not the other way around, as Huffman-Ramirez reasons.

Maybe the surest way to help Huffman-Ramirez determine whom he thinks should and should not be recognized and afforded access to the governmental power’s information inner sanctum is to figure out through what medium those who consume news choose to acquire it.

According to The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press’, January 4, 2011, Survey Report, entitled, “Internet Gains on Television as Public's Main News Source; More Young People Cite Internet than TV,” newspaper are now ranked third as new sources behind TV and the Internet.

Local TV news programming is third amongst how people ranked television as their major source of news at an almost consistent 16 percent over a nine-year period, according to a Pew Research Center's biannual survey on news consumption habit, a Wall Street Journal article by the Associated Press. The local TV news was behind broadcast network news, which lost eight percent, down to 22 and cable news networks which also lost eight percent down to 36.

Ramirez-Huffman seems to not recognize the paradigm shift in how communications is being delivered and accepted in the post worldwide web revolution. Newspapers of general circulation still exist, but are no longer the only medium seeking to cover governmental activities. He might recognize the shift he just doesn’t want to acknowledge Internet based outlets as press.

In Dan Gillmor’s introduction to his book “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People,” published in July 2004 and available online for free, he wrote:
Tomorrow’s news reporting and production will be more of a conversation, or a seminar. The lines will blur between producers and consumers, changing the role of both in ways we’re only beginning to grasp now. The communication network itself will be a medium for everyone’s voice, not just the few who can afford to buy multimillion-dollar printing presses, launch satellites, or win the government’s permission to squat on the public’s airwaves.
Further on in Gillmor’s introduction:
Happily, the anarchy scenario doesn’t strike me as probable, in part because there will always be a demand for credible news and context. Also possible, though I hope equally unlikely, is a world of information lockdown. The forces of central control are not sitting quietly in the face of challenges to their authority.
Gillmor hones in on what is happening that makes this series necessary.
…. Governments insist on the right to track everything we do, but more and more politicians and bureaucrats shut off access to what the public needs to know—information that increasingly surfaces through the efforts of nontraditional media.
My former, and recently retired, UNM Journalism Lecturer, Dennis Herrick, told me, should the question ever come to court, he was willing, as an expert witness, to testify that what I did on this post qualified as journalism.
Herrick’s replacement at UNM is Journalism Lecturer Todd Winge who is now teaching reporting, ethics/law, and multimedia journalism. The definition of journalist is broadening Winge said during the taping of the recent SPJ ethics in journalism discussion.
At an "Ethics in Media" public forum, 2010 SPJ National President Hagit Limor, an Investigative Reporter WCPO-TV, Cincinnati spoke about the width and breath of the definition of journalist and of the media.

Limor wrote on her SPJ Blog, “Freedom of the Prez” a defense against an attempt to introduce legislation in Congress of a new SHIELD Act, Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act, to counter WikiLeaks disclosures.

This shield law is not the federal shield law journalist, their groups, and organizations like SPJ are seeking Congress to pass, to protect journalist from being forced to reveal the identity of sources in fulfilling their watch dog role of monitoring government.

Limor’s point is, if government can shut down one form of First Amendment protected communications, WikiLeaks, under the proposed, SHIELD Act, then any form of communications is subject to government sanctions. Such sanctions could range from prior restraint, to censorship, to imprisonment for getting the truth out about the conduct of our government, whether it is embarrassing or not.

Thomas Jefferson thought in 1787:
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Huffman-Ramirez, all City Public Information Officers, for that matter, all governmental PIOs, and aides to public officials, and the public officials themselves, who have a sworn duty in upholding the Constitution to hold themselves accountable to the people they serve, not just the constituency that elected them or the leader who appointed them. They owe their allegiance to “We the People…” Accountability is accomplished through the free flow ideas by those citizens who wish to observe, photograph, and report, without having to go through some governmental filtering system.

Upon leaving KOAT TV Action 7 News to begin serving the City December 1, 2009, Huffman-Ramirez, stated he perceived his new job as not being a “Public” information officer, but a guardian of his boss, of the mayor’s reputation, burnishing and protecting his image, and protecting him from any possible “bad” press.

However, Huffman-Ramirez wrote:
Mayor Berry has a very clear philosophy that City employees working in any capacity, PIO's included, understand that ultimately taxpayers are our boss and we work for them.
Huffman-Ramirez can recite Berry’s clear philosophy, it just seems he’s incapable of personally putting it into practice.

So, if ultimately taxpayers are his boss and he work for the people, then Huffman-Ramirez and others are clearly not the ones who get to determine who gets to cover the governmental press and information dissemination apparatus.

The beauty of the First Amendment is in its first words, “Congress shall make no law….” It simply describes: "... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;..." it doesn't define press. It also doesn’t distinguish between the professional and the dilettante; it protects all people from their government abridging the freedom.

The 14th Amendment expanded the meaning of "Congress" to include the states and all levels of any and all governmental entities. Huffman-Ramirez as a governmental actor is simply prohibited from making the kinds of decisions about the meaning of the First Amendment that he does.
More Recently

On May 12, 2011, I made an IPRA request of the City through the Chief Records Custodian City Clerk Amy Bailey:
From: Mark G. Bralley
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 3:04 PM
To: City Clerk Staff
Subject: Inspection of public records request Update, forgot names.

Ms. Bailey, 
Please disregard the request of earlier today, and replace it with this document. 
My name is Mark G. Bralley
(Street address redacted)
Albuquerque, N.M.

Phone number (505) redacted
e-mail redacted 
Please accept this as a formal Inspection of Public Records Request pursuant to the state open records act, N.M. Stat. Secs. 14-2-1 to 14-2-12.
I write to request access to and inspection of: 
Any and all written documents or electronic messages related to the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the Albuquerque Fire Department, since December 1, 2009, regarding the composition of lists of individuals, organizations, and news media outlets, in and outside of City government, who have been at any time on and or removed from the "news release" lists and the "Media Advisory" lists created and maintained by the government of the City of Albuquerque. Especially communications to or from City of Albuquerque's:
Office of the Mayor, City of Albuquerque,
Mayor Richard J. Berry,
former Chief Administrative Officer, David Campbell,
Chief Administrative Officer and former City Attorney, Robert J. Perry,
Chief Public Safety Officer, Darren P. White,
Director of Communications, Chris (Huffman) Ramirez,
Deputy Director of Communications Erin Thompson,
former Director of Communications for Public Safety, Thomas J. (TJ) Wilham,
Albuquerque Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Trish Hoffman,
Albuquerque Fire Department Public Information Officer, Driver Melissa Romero,

Laura F. Church, and any other Mayor's staff or City employee involved in creating or maintaining such lists. 
In as much as most, if not all, of these documents are or should be in electronic form, please forward them, in their electronic form. 
In accordance with the Inspection of Public Records Act Compliance Checklist: 
Forward or permit inspection of nonexempt records immediately or as soon as practicable or not more than 3 business days.
Identify any records, as fully as possible, that are deemed under this request as exempt.
If this request is deemed excessively broad or burdensome, please provide all documents that are available and not subject to the broad or burdensome determination, immediately or as soon as practicable within 3 business days. 
Please identify the person(s) who may deny this or parts of this request as deemed exempt, excessively broad, or burdensome, and the statutory reasons and citations they use for their denial. 
Thank you for the prompt handling of this matter in accordance with the Inspection of Public Records Act.
I then did not receive any response with in the three days or the fifteen days.
On June 20, 2011, I attended the Albuquerque City Council Meeting ostensibly to photograph Councillor Brad Winter, below, for some campaign material for his upcoming Council race.
However, the evening was filled with a number of interesting and controversial topics to the point of a little hair pulling.
During the public comments, family and friends spoke out about their loved ones who had been killed during officer involved shootings and comments made by APD officers on FaceBook social media that were received as disturbing by the public.

Members of the Albuquerque Police Department Command Staff including: Deputy Chief Paul Feist, the Department's head of Information Technology, Deputy Chief Elizabeth Paiz, Director of Public Safety Darren White, and Chief of Police Ray Schultz, listen to a family member, below, of one of 20 people shot in the first 20 months of the Berry Administration. Fourteen of those shot died.
Councillor Dan Lewis, who had announced as a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Congressional seat in District 1, being vacated by Rep. Martin Heinrich, suggested the U.S. Department of Justice be called in to investigate the series of police shootings.
Lewis’ comment got Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry on his feet, warning Lewis to watch out for what he asked for.
Perry described having been involved with the Duran consent decree when he was Secretary of Corrections during the Gov. Gary Johnson administration. The Duran consent decree was a stipulated agreement in a case of prison conditions in federal court that kept the New Mexico Department of Corrections in check for about 20 years. Perry, as Secretary, was able to have the consent decree lifted.

Perry warned that calling in the DoJ could cause "unintended consequences." However, he did not expound.
Councillor Rey Garduño spoke in response to Perry, about the concerns he and family members, friends and community members had about the number of shootings in such a compressed period of time that he believed justified a review from the U.S, Justice Department.

The issue was at the discussion phase following public comments and Council took action after their summer break on August 1, 2011 when a resolution sponsored by Councillors Debbie O'Malley, Ken Sanchez, and Isaac Benton. They would be joined by Garduño and Lewis in passing the resolution. Voting against the issue were: Brad Winter, Michael Cook, Trudy Jones, and Don Harris. The Mayor would veto the action and the voting blocks remained the same in the attempt to over-ride the veto, which failed.

A point of irony occurred when Lewis' then Campaign Manager Doug Antoon, left, asked for my opinion on the police shootings. The man to the right is KOAT TV Reporter Todd Unger, who was covering the shootings story.
Why the irony? Antoon knows I have been providing Lewis' GOP rival for the Congressional District One primary nomination, former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones with support.

I sent Antoon links to two Op-Ed pieces that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal writing;
Under the consent agenda, there was an important appointment of the more than year-long vacancy of the neutral chairman of the Labor – Management Relations Board. Tom Griego, above, was approved. Within weeks Griego accepted the job as executive director of the State's Labor – Management Relations Board.

The meeting moved on to a zoning issue about requiring upgraded fire suppression sprinkler systems in existing restaurants.
The Fire Department's Fire Marshal and Fire Chief Breen answered Council questions.

Restaurant owners and landlords complained about the prohibitive costs to retro-fitting buildings to the new code.

One speaker spoke of the only fire in a restaurant in recent memory was an arson, which brought on laughter.
However, that was not the most recent city restaurant fire to burn to the foundation. I recall being the last customer to leave the 66 Diner the night that the deep fryer was left on and the building was destroyed.

As the Council took a lunch break, Albuquerque's Public Safety Director Darren White’s staff, left the chambers.
TV station KRQE interviewed White.
Peter St. Cyr, above right, interviewed Chief Schultz, middle, while Dep. Chief Paiz, left, listened.
White approached Schultz and St. Cyr, who were then being monitored by Huffman-Ramirez, left, and Assistant City Attorney for APD Kathryn Levy, second from left.
White was pulled away by KOAT Reporter Unger, left, for an on camera interview.

I approached Huffman-Ramirez in the hallway, giving him my business card, asking, what was it going to take to get put back on the media advisory list.

“It’s never going to happen,” Huffman-Ramirez said.

I asked why and he simply repeated himself. After the fourth time I asked why, he said, because you’re not credentialed.

I asked what he would accept as credentials? He ignored the question.

“You are not the press,” Huffman-Ramirez said.

I asked how that was decided?

Huffman-Ramirez said he got to decide who was on his list or removed from the list and that he had talked with City Legal and had been told he could put anyone on the list or remove anyone he wanted, “… and there was no law that could make me.”

I asked whom he had consulted at City Legal, but he wouldn’t answer.

I told him that I had an outstanding Inspection of Public Records Request that overdue by more than 30-days (May 16 for the three-day notice).

He said he was unaware of it, but would look into it.

I spoke with Director of Constituent Services Tito Madrid. Madrid had spoken at a “Republicans in Business Network” luncheon November 9, 2010, about the mayor’s office. MacQuigg and I had attended and talked with him about a couple of problems we noticed. I told Madrid that there was a problem with the appointments of the “neutral chairmen” of two particular boards: the Ethics Board, which has reappointed the same chairman since at least 2003 where there is a two-three year term limit by ordinance; and the failure of the Labor Board to appoint its neutral chairmen for over a year.

Madrid stated one of his duties was to make sure that Boards and Commissions appointments were made and kept up to date.

MacQuigg also talked with him about not being allowed to cover the Mayor’s press conferences and the inability to get past gatekeepers, like the Public Information Officer.

Though he could not make the PIO do anything, he could get our message to the Mayor directly, Madrid said.

Madrid stated he had passed along our concerns that we were not on the media advisory list at the next Mayor’s staff meeting and Mayor Berry asked Huffman-Ramirez about it.

Huffman-Ramirez said he’d look into it.

Madrid was a bit surprised to learn that we were not included on the media advisory list, as he understood the mayor to have told Huffman-Ramirez to include us on the list.

However, Madrid said it was in Huffman-Ramirez’ area.
When Council came back into session, City Clerk Amy Bailey, right, sat next to Huffman-Ramirez.

I approached her, introducing myself and presenting my business card. I told her about the overdue IPRA request and she said Chris was telling her about it.

She said she would look into it and contact me.

The final contentious issue was the question of putting the question of a non-binding citizen referendum on red light cameras on the upcoming ballot.
Councillor Lewis carried the bill and a lively discussion followed with Councillor Garduño, below right, saying the questions about red light cameras had been a serious topic in the news and amongst bloggers, looking at me. Councillor Benton, below left, pointed at me for my stance against red light cameras, which dominated this sites early history.
On June 22, 2011, Bailey forwarded a PDF attached, response consisting of 47 pages of documents.
Dear Mr. Bralley:
Attached please find a pdf containing the documents responsive to your request below.
Please accept my apologies for the late response and my appreciation for your understanding. During our conversation Monday you indicated that you indicated that you believed the delay could be intentional. Please let me assure you that is not the case. After researching the request, I discovered that the reason for the tardiness of the response is my fault. I was provided with the information by the appropriate individuals in a timely manner and I inadvertently overlooked the deadline. Again, I apologize for the delay in the response and assure you that any future responses will be supervised more closely. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting me. 
Amy B. Bailey
Albuquerque City Clerk
Later in the day, Mayor Richard Berry hosted a “Chat with the Mayor,” at the new North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Community Center.
MacQuigg and I attended. When we arrived, Madrid greeted us twirling his wrist and pointing to the door, saying, "you don’t have credentials." MacQuigg did not know Madrid was referencing a conversation he and I had at Monday’s Council meeting and the gesture was meant as a joke.
We signed in early with Constituent Services Representative and former City Councillor Sally Mayer, obtaining numbers five and six to meet the mayor.
Mayor arrived driving himself, followed by a member of his protective detail.

Upon entering the room, the Mayor had five staffers from his office with him, and one from City Council:
Senior Advisor Sara Lister,
Assistant To The Mayor Annabelle J Romero,
Director of Communications Chris Huffman-Ramirez,
Constituent Services Representative Joyce Pullen,
Council Policy Analyst City Council Jessica L Gonzales,
And Officer Chris Garcia.

Outside the room were:
Director of Constituent Services Tito Madrid,
Constituent Services Representative Sally Mayer,
Constituent Services Representative Douglas R Lutz, above middle, and Boards & Commissions Coordinator Giselle M Alvarez, above right,
Intern, Dan last name unknown, who had just started that Tuesday,
Officer Tony Fincher.
Northeast Area Commander, Bonnie Jo Blanco-Montoya, above right with then Lieutenant Jan Olstad, Ret.
Sergeant Glen St. Onge, above right, and Officer Mike Benavidez.

I had an audio recorder and Berry asked if we were recording this.

“Yes, we are,” I said, “because we can’t get to ask you questions at your press conferences.”

“Well, this is ‘chat with the Mayor,’” Berry said.

So MacQuigg and I laid out our concern that we could not get on the City Press Advisory list of his upcoming events.

There are the back channel rumors and chatter as to why I am not being recognized by Huffman-Ramirez and it has nothing to do with his claim that I am not the press because he will not credential me.

I told the mayor the reasoning is: any one of, or a combination, or mixture of five variants:
A residual effect from former Mayor Martin Chávez’ administration's protection detail, that I pose a continued physical threat to the mayor; 
Animosity over my having taken Mayor Berry to the Ethics and Campaign Finance Board to have his campaign settle payment for a photograph of Mayor Martin Chávez taken for use in a negative ad; 
Accusation of being, “in your face,” when photographing Mayors; 
The continued mistaken belief that I publish the “Eye on Albuquerque” Blog, though the Albuquerque Journal all but identified one of the earlier writers of the Eye; 
and a displeasure by members of Berry’s staff with my coverage of the administration, especially of Public Safety Director Darren White.
I am not now, nor have I ever been associated with, or a writer for the “Eye on Albuquerque” Blog. The Eye has twice disavowed my being the Eye: Aug. 29, 2007, Troubling and July 27, 2011 Public Notice. It seemed rather entertaining to those commenting on the backside. 
The Eye also mentioned me in a Sept. 28, 2011 posting, Schultz Sharpens his Forte, about Chief Ray Schultz rehiring former Lt. John Gallegos as the social media compliance officer monitoring officers presence on the internet. The Eye attempts to explain Gallegos' role in my illegal firing. The Eye got the drift, if not the facts correct. 
The Eye failed to mention the primary reason I contacted them was to request that they remove three photographs of mine that were replicated from Fans of the Albuquerque Police Department site. 
I explained that part of my problem was there were people in the City administration who still believed I was the Eye and if my photographs appeared on their site it could cause me further problems.
Two rehired officers, Mark Aragon, left and Larry Edmondson, while working security at the June 20, 2010 City Council meeting, both asked me if I was the Eye.
The Eye took down the three offending photographs without comment and changed their "Public Disclaimer" to include:
Many of our images are from Google Images. If you feel there has been an infringement, please contact the Eye On Albuquerque with proof of ownership; including licensing and Copyright information. It is not the Eye On Albuquerque's intent to infringe on any others property.
I have been accused of being other people from other sites, but I am only this web log post and The Blue Flyer.com.
On the facebook page Fans of APD and the YouTube channel fansapd34's, in cooperation with the “Eye on Albuquerque” have produced and posted more than three-dozen videos; at least 19 of them contain one or more of my photographs, stolen from my site, my clients' sites. I have never had any direct- communications from the Fans of APD. 
I believe that some of their videos border on defamation and want no part of my work involved.
Instead of communicating in a civil business manner, Fans of APD posted my letter, on their site and requested I write them with details of their misuse of my photos. I asked for a discreet e-mail address and had no further contact.
Fans added to their basic information page under general information:
Both publications completely miss the point that just because one might find an image they like on Google or anywhere else on the internet does not mean they may copy and paste it into their site without having violated copyright law.
All work is born copyrighted in this country and unless a person wishing to use such work is able to prove they are entitled to use it they may not.
I provide written permission, as a license to use my work, as part of a contract and have had no problems with those who work this way.
I present as an explanation by way of examples why the accusation that I am an “in your face,” photographer is simply not true. My buddy Peter St Cyr, carried the rumor he had heard, so I asked him what did he call his activity, of shoving his microphone into his subjects faces was more “in your face,” than what I did. He conceded.
I sought answers to the possibilities that the rumored reasons are valid, but even high-level city officials and staffers, not directly involved in the issue, but in positions to know, who have asked not to be identified because if it were known they were communicating with me, could cause them problems, are unable to give a definitive response; though they speculate the rumors are untrue.

If Huffman-Ramirez only knows my work from my blog spot, then he has no idea why I otherwise qualify as a journalist and member of the press.

As a freelance photojournalist, since Berry’s election, two of the City credentialed media outlets used my services photographically with pictures of Berry.

Within hours of Huffman-Ramirez denial of my being the press, a department of the City contacted me seeking use of my photographs.

As a fact, it should make one wonder if Huffman-Ramirez has any grip on how demand for my work plays into the question of legitimacy in his denial of his “credentialing” me over the reality of, not only the public wanting to see my work, but the government he works for also seeking its use.
For the purpose of the City of Albuquerque’s Directors of Communications and City Departmental Public Information Officers, there are no written policies published or available on how they decide who are members of the media. Further, because there are no written policies, publicly available, there are no possibilities to have an opportunity to appeal, or respond, or confront the reasoning for their denial of access.

A partial September 1, 2010, internal memo from then City of Albuquerque Public Safety Communications Director Todd J. “TJ” Wilham is a smoking gun of the Mayor's office's attitude to open government.
From: Wilham, T.J.
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 10:04 AM
To: Church, Laura F.
Subject: media advisory list
For the media advisory list. Use the original list as a guide and take off the following:
Bralley, Mark;
Carolyn Weekly Alibi;
Childress, Marjorie;
G Doland;
Hamby, Nadine L.;
Demarco, Maarisa;
Monahan, Joe;
Holmes, Aaron K.;
Kelly, John P.;
Romero, Elaine T.;
Sanchez, Greg J. (Aviation);
Sanchez, Ken;
St. Cyr, Peter;
T. Jennings;
Rivers, Sonia;
The emailed memo was sent without warning or notice, to those affected and not only did they not know of the governmental action, but they were denied any opportunity to respond, challenge, or appeal.

A city source provided two of the three-page memo, which deleted names of journalists and City staff, some of whom had retired, or moved to other jobs not requiring them to remain on the list.

More members of the print media were removed than were those who were primarily internet media providers.

This memo has also been kept secret because a request for an inspection of public records seeking information pertaining to how the city made decisions about notification of journalists through the use of media advisories, was acknowledged, it has just been ignored.

Huffman-Ramirez does not just see himself as the determiner of who gets to tell the city’s stories by selecting who is or is not “approved” by him, he has recently taken it to a new level.

He claimed that as public information officer, he has become an expert on the State’s Statute, the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

In an April 15, 2011 email to Peter St Cyr about a verbal request he made for factual information about the number of bus drivers, not made by an, IPRA but as a press inquiry, Huffman-Ramirez wrote:
Please understand that there are legal guidelines that the City follows to release public information. Our goal is not release information "quickly" like you mention, it's to release information that is complete and accurate.
…City Clerk Amy Bailey or I can help educate you on the act, if your are unfamiliar with it.
I challenge Huffman-Ramirez’s statement above.

He fails to read the black letter law in reference to his use of the word "quickly"; the IPRA uses a more definitive word, “immediately.” If a record is instantly available, it is to be surrendered immediately.
14-2-8. Procedure for Requesting Records.
D. A custodian receiving a written request shall permit the inspection immediately or as soon as is practicable under the circumstances, but not later than fifteen days after receiving a written request.
Any records that are instantly available should be surrendered immediately. If other records are not instantly available and require time to locate, the custodian may indicate such and upon retrieving them should notify the requester of their availability. However, under no circumstance should a custodian who has records responsive to the request hold them while searching the possibility of locating other records.

If Huffman-Ramirez is doing anything assuring that he has all the documents responsive to the request, to which he eludes, about being complete and accurate, he may well be, not only exceeding the law but, likely also violating the statute.

A request for inspection may require a through search for completeness, but his claim of accuracy is beyond the scope. Oft times records are very inaccurate and may also be incomplete. The request for inspection applies to the documents that were already produced at the time of the request. Any attempt by the government to alter existing records would constitute a tampering with a public record.

If a request alerts the government body to a problem, they must turn over the records they have at that moment. If further records are necessary to satisfy the governmental interest, nothing prevents them from doing so, but the delivery of the existing records should not be delayed.

Huffman-Ramirez ignores that beyond the inspection of public records act, there is a criminal statute which is similarly written to IRPA, but is more specific, it reads:
Chapter 30 Criminal Offenses
Article 26 Interference with Public Records
30-26-1. Tampering with public records.
Tampering with public records consists of:
A.   knowingly altering any public record without lawful authority;
B.  any public officer or public employee knowingly filing or recording any written instrument, judicial order, judgment or decree in a form other than as the original thereof in fact appeared;
C.  any public officer or public employee knowingly falsifying or falsely making any record or file, authorized or required by law to be kept;
D. any public officer or public employee knowingly issuing or causing to be issued, any false or untrue certified copy of a public record; or
E.   knowingly destroying, concealing, mutilating or removing without lawful authority any public record or public document belonging to or received or kept by any public authority for information, record or pursuant to law.
Whoever commits tampering with public records is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
30-26-2. Refusal to surrender public record.
Refusal to surrender public record consists of any person wrongfully or unlawfully refusing or neglecting to deliver unto the proper authority, any record of either house of the legislature, of any court of this state or of any department of the state or local government which he has in his possession, within three days after demand therefore shall have been made by the proper officer.
Whoever commits refusal to surrender public records is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Police work is all about producing public records. During the first day of the Albuquerque Police Academy, the description of what we cadets were embarking upon as a career in law enforcement, included that we would be the public’s scribe.

I have studied, know and understand the inspection of public records act quite intimately. I have also been involved in supporting and opposing various pieces of legislation affecting the inspection of public records.

I taught report writing to 67th and 68th Albuquerque Police Academy Cadet Classes, and the 14th Albuquerque Police Academy, Public Safety Aide Cadet Class in 1993.

From November 28, 1994 through February 23, 1996, I was assigned to the Albuquerque Police Department’s Law Enforcement Services Division, Records and Technical Support Section, Public Information Unit, where my duties were to immediately provide, copies of police incident, crime, accident, and information reports, to: lawyers, insurance companies, news media, and any citizen wishing a copy.
Document requests were filled under the state’s inspection of public records act. I filled more requests in my time in records than Huffman-Ramirez would fill in his less than two-year PIO career.

I had two other assignments with public information duties; one in the Chief’s office and the other, when I was assigned to the Police Athletic League.
MacQuigg and I have attempted to approach the question of recognition from the most fundamental Constitutional standpoint.

We like the idea of the pamphleteers of colonial times; part news, part analysis, and part opinion. Just like the newspapers of today. We don't sell advertising and we don't have crossword puzzles.

The language in the New Mexico Constitution is clearer than the U.S. Constitution.
Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects...
Publish is the magic word that is the equivalent to Press. In New Mexico there is no confusion because of the words, "Every person...".

Their are a couple of media outlets that have offered to write, "credential" letters for me, but it is my simple contention on two points:
My self-introduction is my credential, because;
If, Congress shall make no law...", then no government or any of it's agents can make or apply any rule, "...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...".
A formal request to the new city director of communications to be placed on the media advisory list was rejected out of hand.

If Mayor Berry truly believes in transparent and open government, he would not leave it to his hired help to screen people he has been answering questions from and being photographed knowing full-well what he says and how he looks will be published online.

Mayor Berry needs only tell his communications director to place MacQuigg and my name on the media advisory list.
In my first posting I misidentified KOAT TV Reporter Todd Unger as Will Carr. Thanks to Anonymous for brining it to my attention and my apologies to Unger and Carr.
I confirmed with Unger his identity. He informed me that Carr was shorter than he was.
One might think I would have gotten that straight, there only being two male reporters listed on the KOAT site. There is one of the reasons I am a photographer, I sometimes don't actually see too well. 
If I were out covering more media events, I might know the  new reporters in town. 
Anonymous, throw a screen name on your comment, resend it, and I'll post the remainder.

No comments: