Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MCC tries to remove reporter from property for asking questions about tuition hike -- Really

Here’s a little insight into the bustling newsroom at the Macomb Daily: It tends to be loud. Phones are ringing, people are talking, TV news drones in the background and police scanners bleat out a constant feed.
But all fell silent briefly Wednesday when scanner chatter started to mention one of our own reporters.
He was at Macomb Community College interviewing students on the effect of the tuition hike. Specifically, he was on taxpayer-funded ground interviewing adults who chose to chat about how the 5 percent increase could affect them.
Apparently, someone at MCC was unhappy he didn’t have – want or need -- a public relations escort , so they called the police, telling deputies they wanted the reporter to be forced to leave.
Though no one had approached the writer, they told officers he “didn’t have permission” to be on campus.
That's right, they wanted the police to force someone to vacate public, taxpayer- funded property on which he was talking to adults eager to voice opinions. And you thought only the Chinese government could think up rules like that.
Thankfully for MCC, they got less egg on their faces than they could have because officers did not intervene – or at least chose to intervene so slowly the reporter was gone before they arrived.
Hopefully, it’s something a professor can bring up during a series of civics lesson: Public property is open to all! Free speech means it’s OK to ask someone a question! Make sure they’re 101-level classes, though, so as to make it less embarrassing.


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