Tuesday, November 03, 2015

WTXL ABC 27 calls Mangum’s restrictions on media access and questions “unacceptable”

On Thursday, FAMU President Elmira Mangum made headlines by refusing to take tough questions from reporters, again. Mangum chose to leave out a back door during a press conference that she called and ignored media representatives who asked her for answers about issues related to her administration.

Yesterday, Mangum set aside 45 minutes to take questions from reporters in an invite-only event in the Lee Hall President’s Suite. A FAMU letter to selected press representatives stated that: “The allotted time of 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. will serve as an intimate on-the-record conversation with President Mangum.”

Stephen Jiwanmall, a reporter for WTXL-27 ABC of Tallahassee, said that: “WTXL was invited to participate but declined to attend, because the university put restrictions on the interview that the station, as a news organization, did not think were fair. No photography or videography was allowed during the meeting. Officials restricted which members of the media could attend, and the invited reporters were allowed to ask one question during the roundtable -- more, if time permitted.”

The FAMU letter indicated that the Mangum administration was unwilling to do any negotiations regarding the rule against taking photos or videos.

“If you should decide to decline this invitation due to our request to refrain from photography or videography, please let me know immediately so that I can allow another reporter to take your slot,” the letter to the press said.

WTXL-27 News Director, III M. David Lee III called the set of media restrictions for the event “unacceptable.”

“As a news organization, we did not feel the conditions in which Florida A&M University dictated today’s interview opportunity to be acceptable,” Lee said. “If Dr. Mangum wishes to sit down with WTXL, with whoever we choose as the reporter, for an open and frank conversation about the university, we are more than willing to set that up. However, asking a television station not to videotape the interview, trying to handpick who can do the interview and the initially limiting reporter questions to just one, is unacceptable.”

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