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DOL forcing media to use government computers


WestVirginiaRebel

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WestVirginiaRebel

479421Washington Examiner:

Unrest is simmering in some quarters of the Washington news universe regarding changes in the way the Department of Labor (DOL) manages its pre-release media “lockups” on sensitive data like weekly jobless benefits and unemployment.

For years, journalists participating in the lockups have shown up at DOL at the appointed time, then entered a limited-access area to receive the new data and prepare news stories for release as soon as official embargoes end.

The system insures that major news organizations get the data as soon as possible and allows journalists covering the release get a jump on providing analyses and opinion about the data.

But Carl Fillichio, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ top communications advisor, circulated a memo earlier this week to interested media informing them that everybody is being required to re-submit their credentials requests.

Fillichio reminded participants that there are only 20-30 seats available for the lockups and that priority will be given by DOL in selecting participants to those that “are primarily journalistic enterprises.”

He also offered a one-sentence assurance that “the department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.”

Whatever grumbling might be occasioned by being forced to go through the credentialing process again, the element of the Fillichio memo that has journalists worried is this paragraph:

“Second, as a measure toward enhancing security in its main lockup facility (the DOL news room), the department will supply and maintain standardized equipment with a standard configuration for all participants. This change means that privately owned computer and telephone equipment, including hardware, software, cabling, wiring and Internet and telephone lines will be replaced with equipment owned by the department.”

In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including “a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.”

The changes evidently are in response at least in part to worries that some of the non-traditional news organizations allowed in recent years to participate in the lockups may not be using their access simply for journalistic purposes.

________

 

Right, they were using them for propaganda and spin. So, what's the problem?

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He also offered a one-sentence assurance that “the department will not consider editorial or political viewpoints in making credentialing decisions.”

 

Fox News?

 

 

The changes evidently are in response at least in part to worries that some of the non-traditional news organizations allowed in recent years to participate in the lockups may not be using their access simply for journalistic purposes.

 

 

Blogs?

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