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Underlying Rights

Paparazzo Gets Into Presidential Trouble in Hawaii

Camped out December 21 on Kailua Beach in Hawaii in hopes of catching a glimpse of a pregnant Jessica Simpson, this unnamed celebrity photographer got something entirely different: the sight of Sasha and Malia Obama. When he decided to snap some photos, two sets of problems ensued.

Per an item on Celebuzz by Cliff Renfrew, some Secret Service agents came over, asked the photographer for identification and presumably gave him a warning. However, when the photographer later went ahead and put the pictures out through his agency, the White House Press Office stepped in:

“He received a letter, on White House Press Office letterhead, requesting that the images not be released,” a source told Celebuzz…

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Reporter Who Caught Police in Occupy LA Lie Files Suit

Despite a display of proper press credentials, City News Service reporter Calvin Milam was thrown to the ground and dragged away November 30, 2011 by police during the clear-out of Occupy LA’s downtown encampment. But it’s what immediately followed that really took the journalist by surprise.

The LAPD tried to dismiss the confrontation by claiming Milam was drunk and belligerent. All well and good, except for the fact that video of the incident completely disproved this version of events. Late last month, Milam finally filed suit in LA Superior Court. Per a Courthouse News Service report:

“The only reason he wasn’t prosecuted was because we located video which completely puts lie to what the cops said,” said Milam’s [high-powered] attorney Mark Geragos. “It’s astonishing to see that video and then see what was alleged: that he didn’t identify himself, show press credentials and that he was resisting.”

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Student Newspaper Editor Hopes to Soon Become Legal

This month is shaping up as a momentous one for Angel Silva, managing editor of Glendale Community College student newspaper El Vaquero. Per a write-up in the Glendale News-Press, he plans – after putting to bed this week’s final issue of the semester – to get around to the business of applying for temporary illegal-resident amnesty.

His application will seek to take advantage of a June 2012 President Obama executive order designed to provide children of illegal immigrants with two-year work permits. Silva’s undocumented status prevented him earlier this year from landing a paid position as El Vaquero editor-in-chief. And at GCC, he is not alone. Per the article by current USC Annenberg graduate student and former Times Community News education writer Megan O’Neil:

Silva is one of 400 undocumented students — often referred to as AB 540, or Dream Act, students — enrolled at Glendale Community College. He said his experience has not weakened his passion for journalism, but it has fueled his engagement with immigration issues. He has become increasingly involved in VOICES, an on-campus student organization focused on immigration, as well as the Coalition for Human Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and the California Dream Network.

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Medill LGBT Journalism Project Makes Impressive Lift-Off

Earlier this week, Northwestern University rightly heralded their journalism school’s laudable new effort known as the Medill Equal Media Project (MEMP). Put together over the summer by a group of students led by editor-in-chief Camille Beredjick (Class of 2013), the website filters LGBT issues through the prism of the 2012 Presidential election.

In a separate op ed by Beredjick for The Advocate, where she has interned, she explained why MEMP is such a big deal:

It’s easy to understand why LGBT media might be overlooked in a university journalism program. The curriculum often emphasizes national rather than community news. We’re taught from the beginning to be objective, leaving little room to acknowledge our LGBT identities in our reporting. Though some schools, like the University of California, Los Angeles, are home to LGBT-specific student publications, LGBT student media are pretty uncommon compared with general campus newspapers…

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Gawker Identifies the Creepiest Troll on the Internet, and Reddit Rushes to His Defense

Under the username Violentacrez, 49-year-old Michael Brutsch of Arlington, Texas, anonymously created and maintained a multitude of racist, mysogynistic, and violent sections on the website Reddit. “Niggerjailbait” is one such example of his handiwork on Reddit, and it is as bad as it sounds – sexualized images of underage African American girls. In fact, underage girls was a specialty of Brutsch, and while he was careful to remove any content that was technically illegal, his many “jailbait” pages clearly pandered to pedophiles.

Brutsch/Violentacrez was also the moderator behind the infamous Reddit group “Creepshots,” which featured upskirt and other covert photos taken of unsuspecting women in public places. Though he was somewhat famous in the Reddit community, and had even been called out by Anderson Cooper, Brutsch’s true identity was unknown until Friday, when Gawker’s Adrian Chen published an article about him.

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Blogger Cheers LAT Decision to No Longer Cover UCLA, USC Football Practices

At this morning’s UCLA football practice, camera crews for ESPN and KTLA are said to have foolishly tried to set up shop in a restricted field area. As a result, coach Jim Mora sent them, the rest of the press corps and members of the school’s sports information department packing for the day.

Go Joe Bruin blogger Carlos Sandoval speculates that this action is directly responsible for a subsequent LA Times tweet announcement that the paper will no longer cover UCLA and USC football practices. And he, for one, is thrilled:

T.J. Simers has constantly bashed UCLA for seemingly no reason other than having an ax to grind while Chris Foster, though more moderate, has been an absolute douche while covering the team. Both act as if covering UCLA football is a labor, so I’m personally glad that they’re willfully leaving. It’s for the best, because they blow.

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Lane Kiffin Still Doing Lane Kiffin Like Things

After banning Daily News reporter Scott Wolf last week, you would think USC football head coach Lane Kiffin would get his act together and stop jerking around the media.

Yeah, not so much.

Kiffin was up to his usual antics on Wednesday with a press conference that lasted less than 30 seconds.

He really doesn’t like talking about injuries.

USC Bans Reporter from Trojans Game, Practices*

In August, USC promised to punish any journalist who passed on strategy or injury-related news garnered via the football practice sidelines. This week, they have put their money where their pigskin is. Or have they?

Per a report in the LA Times, Daily News sportswriter Scott Wolf has been barred from two weeks’ worth of Trojans practices and a September 22 home game for reporting that place kicker Andre Heidari (pictured) underwent surgery last week. Even though Wolf’s report does not cite a practice source:

“From our standpoint, Scott was doing his job,” Los Angeles Newspaper Group sports editor Gene Warnick said. “This wasn’t something that was part of practice. We were just trying to report the news.” A USC athletic department spokesperson declined to comment.

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Gay Blogger Goes Undercover at Anti-Same Sex Marriage Conference

Now in its fourth year, the “It Takes a Family to Raise a Village” (ITAF) conference hosted by the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Ruth Institute had a most unusual guest at its recent San Diego summer confab: Media Matters for America blogger Carlos Maza.

Taking advantage of the event’s expansion to include recent college graduates, the openly gay Maza (pictured) applied as a gag, fully expecting to be smoked out by a quick Google search. Instead, he received a ‘Congratulations!’ email and soon found himself socializing on Day One (July 26) at a group dinner in Marina Village:

I told them I was a practicing Catholic (false) who recently graduated from Wake Forest University (true), where I was a member of the university’s debate team (true). I told them that I worked with my mom at a computer software company in Miami, FL (false) but was planning to move to Washington, DC in order to be closer to my long-term college girlfriend (absolutely false).

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San Diego Freelancer in the Middle of First Amendment Fight

Earlier this year, 48-year-old videographer for-hire James Charles Playford served a couple of days in San Diego jail after being found guilty of obstructing a peace officer. He essentially refused to identify himself to a sheriff’s deputy at a news scene and a minor altercation ensued.

Now, his employer – Connecticut based American News and Information Services Inc. – is tackling on his behalf the broader issue of San Diego press credentials. Per a report in the North County Times, the company has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that ID cards issued to news media by the San Diego Police Department violate the First Amendment and that privately issued credentials should be considered equally valid. Playford’s SDPD pass was rescinded some time ago when a restraining order was filed against him:

To qualify for SDPD credentials, a member of the media must demonstrate a need to regularly cross police or fire lines and must pass a criminal background check, said Detective Gary Hassen, a spokesman for the San Diego Police Department who is in charge of issuing the credential.

Additionally, the applicant’s journalistic outlet must have been in existence for at least six months. He said the agency has issued credentials to bloggers, most notably those who work for Patch.

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