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Action alert: Don’t let News12 throw away community comments

See a sample letter and News12 contact info at the bottom of this post.

News clips below. News 12 created a community format to broadcast a recent “State of the County” message by Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. According to Newsday, an aid at Steve Levy’s office gave a call to News12 and shut that format down from being rebroadcast.
So…

News 12 identified a need.

Then, News12 put their plan into action, helped the community to speak up, and gained more audience.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy pushed back, and helped shut up the public. (Thus, buying himself more time as the monopoly [Dem plus Rep, with lack of ballot access] government.)

Then, Rick Brand at Newsday tries to cover it up with sympathy for “poor Steve Levy”.

Oh, well.

The capitalists at News 12 have identified a market niche.

Who does the justice/activist community have that can fill that niche? Do we have any live bloggers that can go to Steve Levy events? What about opportunities for Public Access and other alternative media who would cover the speech and include community commentary? That would be ideal.

But, also, Long Islanders should reach out to other news organizations who might see the opportunity here. (Every once in awhile, The Post or The Daily News realize that they could increase circulation by actually meeting some needs on Long Island.)

Below are some blurbs from the Newsday story. Why am I quoting from the pro-status quo Newsday story? Because, they have become one of the few (bloated) media sources for news on Long Island.

-KW

http://www.newsday.com/columnists/rick-brand/brand-did-news-12-unfairly-blindside-steve-levy-during-speech-1.1746158

“Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy had competition last week  while delivering his State of the County message. Only he didn’t know it.

A half-dozen times during News 12’s live broadcast, home viewers were invited to ‘Sound Off’ and e-mail their comments, which were then put on screen next to Levy during his 50-minute speech.

Neither Levy nor the 300 officials who jammed the main auditorium at Stony Brook University’s Wang Center were aware of the split screen’s use during the televised address…

A Levy aide later called News 12 to formally complain and asked that the ‘Sound Off’ portion of the tape be taken out of taped replays of the speech over the weekend – as well as News 12 Interactive’s instant replay feature for customers. News 12 agreed.”

* Action Alert *

You can contact News12 at:

news12li at news12 dot com

Or, you can leave a message at their community feedback phone:
(516) 393-1200
Option 5

Here is my sample letter:

Dear News12,

I heard through news reports, that News 12 provided the excellent service of broadcasting a County Executive speech, and allowed for running commentary from the community in a split screen. That is an excellent way to give the grassroots in a democracy the power to be heard.

I was shocked and saddened to hear that, after a call from the County Executive’s office, you decided to pull the rebroadcast of this information.

I do not think News12 should even take calls of politicians asking to affect coverage (unless it is for emergency or public health reasons.)

So, I ask that you rebroadcast your program with your originally planned schedule, in the original format, to preserve the integrity of the press, and your news organization.

But, if you fail to do that…

At least you should provide for that excellent commentary to be shown separately as many times as County Executive Levy’s speech is shown. Or, you should make it available on line.

News 12 seems to have “over-respected” their duty to Steve Levy by stopping that rebroadcast. But, what about your duty to the citizens who bravely called in? It is often difficult to get people in our society to speak truth to power. Some people took a bold step. They should not get less of a hearing based on the whim of a politician.

In addition, the whole community is hurt if you suppress information and opinion that other community members wanted to share with them.

I look forward to a response to my concern. I think it is a very important and precarious situation when politicians can affect the decisions in your newsroom on such a personal basis.

Thank you,
Kimberly Wilder

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