When I want to go to a Flames game, I need to apply for accreditation.
When I go to cover CES, I need to apply for accreditation.
I talk about The Flames on the radio each day, and I was a tech columnist and writer for more than a decade. Still, I need to prove that I’m not only a member of “the media,” but that I’m a credible member of the media that is relevant to the issue. I have to apply to have press access to events, I can’t just show up and expect it.
There are only so many seats in a press box. It’s not infinite. Being “in the media” is not a right. We are all media now. I’ve been writing on this issue for almost a decade about how the audience isn’t listening, they’re creating. I’ve written about how we each seek unique voices, not mainstream ones, to get our news. And I’ve lamented how bloggers have artificially tried to infiltrate the media cycle.
Every organization gets to choose who gets in. From a tourism board being pitched by freelancers, to a theatre company putting on a play, to a government.
I have 26 yrs on radio and 20 yrs writing online on my resume. I am media. I am a journalist to some extent. I have been a reporter on occasion. I offer opinion and editorial on politics and current events. My websites have an audience.
Does this mean I should be automatically allowed to cover every provincial event? Should I get immediately ushered into every press lockup? Am I as important as CBC, Postmedia, Global, CTV, Vice, BuzzFeed, etc?
No. Accreditation is not a right. It’s something you apply for and, when circumstances fit, are granted. Other times, when circumstances don’t fit, it’s not granted.
The Rebel‘s behaviour, style, and founder Ezra Levant‘s history of reporting (including numerous charges of libel and an admission in court by Levant that he is not a reporter) unequivocally put it in a place where it cannot expect unfettered access to the government.
Accreditation is not a right for everyone who dare declare themselves media, it is a privilege that must be earned.
Did Notley butcher the handling of this? Obviously. But the spirit of the original dismissal of The Rebel from provincial media events was correct, the case for the dismissal, however was horribly presented.