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LEVIN |  Cornell’s Rocky Relationship with Pupil Press

As President Pollack put it, “Free expression is the bedrock of democracy…” I ought to remind the administration that there isn’t any free expression and not using a free and knowledgeable press. At Cornell, pupil journalists face each impediment in pursuit of the reality — particularly from the Media Relations Workplace.

Final February, I reached out to Vice President Ryan Lombardi to request a reside interview about Cornell’s mediocre psychological well being providers. (The College invested in multimillion greenback suicide nets beneath campus bridges however doesn’t have a single psychiatrist on campus.) Dr. Lombardi appeared and copied Rebecca Valli, the Director of Media Relations, who in flip requested for a prewritten checklist of interview questions. Any journalist is aware of that handing over questions previous to an interview goes in opposition to greatest follow. However refuse Media Relations’ each whim and say goodbye to the potential for getting any solutions. So I performed their recreation — one thing I’ll by no means do once more. 

I relented, sending seven easy, punchy questions. Dr. Lombardi ignored my request for a one-on-one dialogue and responded with an electronic mail that dodged half of my questions and answered the remaining incompletely. It was clear to me that his letter was both manufactured by a lawyer or a P.R. henchman, although Ms. Valli denied that allegation after I final spoke to her. By the point Media Relations will get concerned, speaking to a brick wall is a greater use of a pupil journalist’s time.