The Pittsburgh Police Department on Sunday put out a press release that included two Post-Gazette reporters’ email to the department with several questions for a story they were working on.
Diane Richard, the department’s public information officer, tipped other news organizations off to the P-G’s investigation when she sent the release to about 200 journalists.
Post-Gazette executive editor David Shribman tells Romenesko readers:
“This is probably unprecedented and certainly unprofessional. It is a horrifying, disrespectful departure from every interchange I have had, or been witness to, with public-relations professionals in four decades in journalism.”
The Board of Ethics and Professional Standards at the Public Relations Society of America is looking into the matter, PRSA’s Arthur Yann tells me.
Here’s the release:
CITY OF PITTSBURGH BUREAU OF POLICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: January 5, 2013
PIO Diane Richard 412-323-7814 Office 412-323-7820 Fax
Inquiries regarding the Homicide/Suicide on New Years Day
PITTSBURGH: Per Chief Harper, I am providing the attached inquiry sent to the Chief’s Office from Jonathan Silver/Liz Navratil of the Post-Gazette regarding the Homicide/Suicide incident that took place on New Year’s Day. The Chief has stated the following: “the Bureau of Police is conducting a homicide and internal investigation into this incident to determine if all Bureau Polices and Procedures were followed. We are in the early stages of an ongoing investigation, and as such, the Bureau will not answer or provide a statement on the questions below or any media inquiries into this incident.”
[The reporters' email that was included in the release:]
Liz Navratil and I are preparing a story for publication about how two Zone 5 officers — Louis Schweitzer and Lance Hoyson — were dispatched 12/31 to Ka’Sandra Wade’s house at 528 Lowell St. nearly 24 hours before her body was discovered. The officers were dispatched after a female called 911 from the residence, there was a commotion, and then the line disconnected. When the officers arrived at the house a male spoke briefly with them through the window, said there was no problem and denied them entry. The officers cleared the call and left. The next night, during the SWAT standoff, Anthony Brown threw out a note retrieved by police which contained a reference to officers having had an opportunity to save Wade. Here are questions we would appreciate answers to today.
Jon & Liz
– What information did Schweitzer and Hoyson have about the situation when they were dispatched at
– Who was dispatched and who was backup?/CONTINUES Read More