Thursday, October 8, 2009

SFPD eases up on press pass restrictions

Brent Begin of the Examiner reports that a blogger managed to get a press pass from the San Francisco Police Department — a remarkable feat given the department's stingy attitude about press passes.

Begin reports that Michael Petrelis succeeded because he persistently challenged the department's press pass policy.

It started when Petrelis couldn't get into the press box at a news conference inside the federal building back in July. He was denied the pass under former police Chief Heather Fong because he didn’t cover crime scenes — although press passes are regularly checked at busy hearings at City Hall and other government buildings.

Petrelis now has a press pass, but his employer is listed as PAZ Magazine.

“The pass was given to me not so much because I am a blogger, but because I sometimes write a column for a traditional magazine,” Petrelis said.

Still, Begin says the new police chief, George gascon, will pay more attention to new media.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SFPD's press pass policy is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to that department's lack of transparency. It's impossible to get police reports or patrol logs. You can't even find out the names and charges of those arrested each day. The press spokesman, Sgt. Neville Gittens, doesn't return phone calls or emails. The only alternative is to sue under the CPRA, but that takes money. The Chronicle does such a bad job covering the city that it doesn't care whether the police obey open records laws. The situation is shameful.