Winnipeg Police Service Public Information Officer Constable Jason Michalyshyn recently weighed in on the recent conflict between Community News Commons citizen journalist Doug Kretchmer and patrol officers attending an assault call at the Windsor Hotel.
“The relationship between police and reporters/citizen journalists continues to be a tumultuous one. Although we’ve come a long way, and our Public Information Officer (PIO) relationship with the media is a friendly/professional one, from time to time, we do find ourselves dealing with a variety of issues. That’s to be expected,” Michalyshyn said.
“Obviously, higher profile issues do arise out in the field. Our unit continues to share important information with the WPS membership by way of training, expressing the importance of maintaining a positive working relationship with journalists of every kind,” he continued.
“Providing our members with information regarding the rights of journalists while ensuring investigations are not interrupted or compromised can be tricky. Simply stated, we need to understand and respect each other’s roles and realize neither the police nor reporters are going anywhere anytime soon,” he summarized.
When asked if he could offer supplemental tips for citizen journalists not covered by The Police Insider, Michalyshyn replied, “To be honest, I don’t think we could ask for much more.”
CNC Convener Noah Erenberg may have said it best when he suggested citizen journalists must exercise discretion when attending chaotic crime scenes when it comes to asserting their rights.
“Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.”
Food for thought.