Pensacola News Journal by Lisa Nellessen Savage
March 29, 2020
Miami Herald bureau chief, Mary Ellen Klas, was blocked from Gov. DeSantis’ daily press conference Saturday. FSNE board members sent a unified response later that evening, calling for immediate change to allow participation from all news organizations that seeks access. The entire letter is below.
Dear Gov. DeSantis:
These are extraordinary times for our state and country, and Florida’s news organizations are striving to keep the public informed of every aspect of the deadly novel coronavirus. It has been challenging because of the rapid-fire pace of breaking news, the lack of understanding of the virus itself, and the challenges posed by social distancing.
Governor, your regular press conferences are one of the most important vehicles for reporters to ask questions about the state’s response to the virus and clarify what it means for our cities and towns. Today’s purposeful exclusion of the Miami Herald’s bureau chief, Mary Ellen Klas, to your press conference was an alarming development. That city is facing a grave crisis, which you well know, and it deserves representation at all of your press conferences.
The Florida Society of News Editors represents 49 organizations reaching millions of citizens across the state. We respectfully expect your press office to work with FSNE to achieve a better set-up that allows participation for any news organization that seeks access to your press conferences, either in person or remotely. We recognize this is outside current practice, but we firmly believe the times demand a more transparent and inclusive response.
We look forward to working through the details with your press office, and other media trade organizations that may want to participate, but this is what FSNE proposes: