Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Friday, August 26, 2016

Vasilinda needs more context for his coverage of FAMU’s enrollment decline

Mike Vasilinda of the Capitol News Service does lots of good reporting of FAMU. That’s why Rattler Nation regularly posts his video news stories here. On Wednesday, this blog posted his wrap-up of the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting.

But Vasilinda needs to follow-up his Thursday story on FAMU’s enrollment decline with another one that has the important context that wasn’t included in the first. He also has some mistakes to correct.

Vasilinda wrote that “this fall marks the fifth anniversary of the hazing death of Florida A&M University Drum Major Robert Champion. The University settled the case for $1.1 million and an apology.”

FAMU actually settled with the Champion family for $300,000. That money was paid by the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Champion family settled with the insurer of the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, where hazing ritual took place, for $800,000.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reporter asks FAMU president if BOT showed her the door, Mangum says it looks that way

Gamble, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, received FAMU purchasing card

Dee Gamble, center, with President Elmira Mangum
A Tallahassee Democrat report on the spending records of FAMU President Elmira Mangum’s administration shows that a staffer who had pleaded guilty to a criminal financial-related charge before he was hired received a university purchasing card. That individual is Santoras “Dee” Gamble, who currently works as an assistant to Mangum. 

As part of his probation, the U.S. Government ordered Gamble to terminate or destroy all of his current credit cards, not to obtain any new credit, and undergo credit counseling.

The Democrat article stated that for “May 2016 through July 2016: His total shows $6,700 during the three-month period. Most of the listings are for hotels, electronics, taxi services.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mangum has set tone for her supporters’ lowbrow antics toward reporters

Rattler Nation hasn’t shied away from speaking out against warped news articles and editorials about FAMU since this site started.

Back in 2012, this blog received a big amount of traffic from viewers who came to read the RN criticism of the Orlando Sentinel editorial board. Then-Sentinel opinions editor Mike Lafferty answered with a column that criticized us back.

Click on the “media” tag on this blog and you’ll see RN editorials that also blast things that were published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Associated Press, and St. Pete Times.

The RN blogging team continues to urge alumni who have a problem with what any media organization has said about their alma mater to make a public response in a way that represents a FAMU education. But the alumni who proposed an organized effort of name-calling and cursing at Tallahassee Democrat reporter Byron Dobson didn’t do that. That was an attempt to get support for online bullying.

Monday, April 18, 2016

FAMU alumni journalists defend need for investigative reporting into their alma mater

A number of professional journalists who graduated from Florida A&M University recently spoke out about the need for continued investigative reporting into their alma mater.

Back during the week of March 20-26, Tallahassee Democrat reporter Bryon Dobson covered the controversy over the FAMU Student Government Association elections and complaints from Board of Trustees members about a lack of communication from the administration.

Some FAMU alumni on Facebook reacted with posts that called Dobson names and asked others to also join in their effort to smear him.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

FAMU deletes tweet sent from its official Twitter account to Tallahassee Democrat reporter

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has deleted a tweet that was sent from its official Twitter account to Tallahassee Democrat reporter Byron Dobson on March 26.

Dobson tagged the university’s official Twitter handle, @famu_1887, in a Tweet with a link to a story he had written. The story had the title: “Mangum’s moves trouble trustees, BOG member.” It discussed reactions by members of the FAMU Board of Trustees and a Florida Board of Governors member to recent actions by President Elmira Mangum.

The @famu_1887 Twitter handle tweeted him back with the statement: “@ByronDobson Thanks but no thanks! There is no need to tag us with these dark clouds! Just a reminder that when the dark clouds arise…”

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Controversies over presidential supervision of general counsels shake FGCU, FAMU

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and Florida A&M University (FAMU) are still dealing with the fallout from controversies over the way their general counsels have been supervised.

Back on December 18, Florida Board of Governors Inspector General Joseph K. Maleszewski released a report that covered questions about the contracts FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw gave to Chief of Staff Susan Evans and Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh.

According to the Naples Daily News:

Friday, March 04, 2016

FAMU law professor speaks out against efforts to hide what happens in campus meetings

Yesterday Maritza I. Reyes, an associate professor at the FAMU College of Law, responded to a news story about a FAMU communications official who suggested that the faculty senate exclude reporters from its meetings.

Reyes wrote in an op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat that: “We must question why proponents of holding closed meetings want to hide what state employees say and do in meetings.”

From Reyes’ letter:

“There are plenty of Florida court decisions and Attorney General opinions that hold that advisory committees are subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law. Therefore, before FAMU’s committees, task forces, etc., close their meetings, they should – with the assistance of FAMU’s General Counsel – seek an opinion from the Florida Attorney General about whether a particular committee is subject to the Open Meetings Law. Otherwise, the particular committee could be violating the law. There may be penalties for individual members of committees who attend meetings in violation of the Sunshine Law.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Mangum administration has no one but itself to blame for its amateurish media relations

Instead of owning up to the poor decisions that led it to lose credibility with much of the Tallahassee news corps, the administration of FAMU President Elmira Mangum has chosen to just dig its hole even deeper.

The latest public condemnation of the way the Mangum administration handles media relations came from the Tallahassee Democrat. On Friday, February 26 its editorial board fired back after FAMU Assistant Vice President of Communications Elise Durham suggested that the faculty senate exclude reporters from its meetings.

“For the head of the communications office to suggest cutting off communication is like the campus health clinic telling students they’re not getting enough tar and nicotine,” the editorial board wrote.

It added that: “Her intentions are not bad, just ill-advised -- and probably illegal.”

Friday, February 05, 2016

Mangum rushes from DC to Florida capitol after news story about “snubbing lawmakers”

FAMU President Elmira Mangum has struggled with media relations since 2015. She has also had trouble working with Gov. Rick Scott throughout her entire presidency. Now, she might have burned bridges with a number of GOP lawmakers.

This week, there was a news report that suggested Mangum offended some of the Florida legislators who will soon decide the university’s 2016-2017 budget appropriations.

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that Mangum had chosen to skip FAMU Day at the Capitol scheduled for Thursday, February 4 in order to participate in a set of events in Washington, DC. One was the White House National Prayer Breakfast, which U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, had invited her to attend as his guest.

FAMU National Alumni Association President Gregory L. Clark addressed the issue in a post on his Facebook page that was widely circled among FAMUans.

“The date of FAMU Day at the Capitol is set by the university,” Clark wrote.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

BOG dodges WCTV question about how many FAMU alumni applied for BOT vacancies

Mori Hosseini, chair of BOG Nomination and Governance Committee
On Thursday, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) dodged a question from WCTV CBS 6 about how many alumni of Florida A&M University applied for vacant seats on their alma mater’s Board of Trustees (BOT).

“There were 32 applicants for these latest positions for the FAMU Board. The B.O.G. could not say offhand how many were graduates of FAMU,” WCTV-6 reported.

Monday, November 16, 2015

News stories about FAMU officials linked to financial scandals far from over

A number of officials at Florida A&M University, and some individuals who have recently left their leadership posts at the school, have been at the center of public controversies over the past several years after being linked to financial scandals. The news coverage that is following a few of them appears to be far from finished.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Givens reported “potential interference” with his work to BOT following email from Cassidy

Back on Oct. 21, FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Rick Givens wrote the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) to report “potential interference with the work of Audit & Compliance.”

POLITICO Florida obtained the series of emails that ended with that statement by Givens.

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.”

Vasilinda reports on invite-only media event with Mangum where video was banned

Friday, October 30, 2015

Mangum makes headlines for dodging tough questions from reporters, again

FAMU President Elmira Mangum dashes out a back door after a press conference (Tallahassee Democrat)
The president of FAMU made headlines this week for choosing to dodge tough questions from reporters, again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Orlando Sentinel editorial board doubles down after hitting new low in 2012

Orlando Sentinel editorial board members Darryl E. Owens and Paul Owens
The Orlando Sentinel editorial board has doubled down on its decision to respond to FAMU’s alleged insensitivity to victims of voluntary hazing by being insensitive to rape victims. 

Back in 2012, FAMU filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of deceased drum major Robert Champion. The motion pointed out that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigation concluded that their son “willingly participated” in the illegal hazing ritual that took his life in Orlando on Nov. 19, 2011. FAMU argued that Florida taxpayers shouldn’t be held legally liable for a 26-year old adult’s decision to break rules that were in place to protect him.

The Orlando Sentinel editorial board criticized FAMU with the statement: “Rather than working contritely with the family on a resolution, FAMU borrowed a page from the rape defense playbook and blamed the victim.” It doubled down on that statement in a Sept. 24, 2015 editorial entitled: “Hazing lessons must guide FAMU.”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Miller defends Dee Gamble’s hiring as story hits Associated Press national wire

The news story on the hiring of Santoras "Dee" Gamble at FAMU has moved from WFSU to the Associated Press national wire.

Back on August 25, WFSU reported that the FAMU Office of Communications had hired Gamble to a job that pays him $75,000 per year. According to WFSU, “Gamble was convicted of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony.”

The United States v. Santoras D. Gamble “Amended Judgment in a Criminal Case” document that is linked to WFSU’s story states that Gamble pleaded guilty and received a sentence of three years’ probation for the offense.

Monday, September 21, 2015

FAMU journalism professor takes Mangum to task for “bullying” student newspaper

On Friday, a member of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication faculty took President Elmira Mangum to task for “bullying” the campus student newspaper.

Valerie D. White, an associate professor of journalism, wrote a stinging opinion column in response to Mangum’s “Open Letter to the Editor of The Famuan” that was posted on the University's revamped news blog on September 10. Mangum wrote the open letter after The FAMUan Editor-in-Chief Reggie Mizell wrote a September 3 opinion column that criticized her for excluding student editors from the planning process for a new “official newspaper” at the university. The editor-in-chief of Journey Magazine, TyLisa Johnson, was a contributor to the opinion piece.