Tag Archives: reporter

Cooper Hires Chattanooga TFP’s Washington Reporter

News release from Congressman Jim Cooper:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced three new additions to his Washington office.
Chris Carroll, a Tennessee native and most recently the Washington correspondent for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, will join as Cooper’s new press secretary on August 5. At the Times Free Press, Carroll reopened the Capital Hill bureau and won several awards for his reporting. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University’s Honors Program.
Carroll replaces Katie Hill, who has taken a job as communications director for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Cooper also announced the addition of a new staff assistant, Vic Goetz, a Nashville native and former intern, who graduated from Bucknell earlier this year. Goetz replaces another Nashville native, Kathleen Ambrose, who joined the staff of Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) this spring.
Cooper is also pleased to welcome a new health care legislative fellow, Paul Shorkey. Shorkey is a Rhodes Scholar and current candidate for M.Sci. in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford with a focus on U.S. health policy and health systems. He also holds a M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Oxford and is a Morehead-Cain graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shorkey will work with Cooper on health care issues until the end of the year.
Shorkey succeeds Ruth McDonald, Cooper’s health care legislative aide, who will begin graduate school this fall.

Arrested Reporter Writes His Story

Jonathan Meador, the Nashville Scene reporter arrested along with Occupy Nashville protesters, has written up an account of the evening. Excerpts:
While waiting in line to be processed onto the idling Department of Correction bus along with the others who’d been snatched up, I started to burp up my meal from earlier in the evening — an overpriced hamburger with fries and Jack and Coke. The trooper shot me a smirk.
“Smells like you been drinkin’ tonight,” he said. A few moments later, he informed one of his comrades to cite me for public intoxication.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. At that moment I happened to notice my colleagues standing near the bus, in various stages of what I can only describe as freaking the hell out. I yelled out to them to call my editor.
…(After being arrested and listening to conversations of others arrested) Normally, such talk strikes me as the fringe ramblings of stereotypical anarchists or right-wing conspiracists. But after what happened tonight, I felt only a chill.
On and on it went, while all I could think of was getting home to bed. Abruptly, we heard cheers erupt from the women’s cell. One of them had been checking her Twitter account. She learned that the sitting magistrate — again, Tom Nelson — threw out the charges against us and demanded that we be released immediately.
Since the troopers hadn’t confiscated any of my equipment, I pulled out my phone and began clandestinely tweeting in the cell. Indeed, multiple sources were reporting that Nelson declared our detainment unconstitutional. “Can I go home now?” I tweeted. To celebrate, I gathered the men into a line and proceeded to take their picture with my smart phone.
“All right,” I said. “Say, ‘Bill Haslam!’ ”
It was a stupid act of bravado, though. When I attempted to upload the picture to the Internet, one of the guards caught me. “Hey!” he shouted. “You can’t be playin’ with that in here!”
He attempted to take it from me and I pulled it back. That was a bad idea. The guard smacked the phone out of my hand, and it ricocheted off the concrete cell wall. “You know I could charge you with a felony for that?” he screamed. “That’s contraband! You’re not supposed to have that in here! That’s a felony!”
Everyone was quiet. I didn’t feel so brave now. I said I hadn’t been searched. I said nothing of mine had been confiscated. I even pointed out no one had told me the items were illegal.
“I know your little buddy, this guy, here was here last night,” he said, pointing to one of the men who’d been arrested in the previous night’s raid. “He knows better. He shoulda told you. I know he knows better.”
“Nobody said anything,” I said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
For a moment the guard stood there. He turned around and picked up my phone, which, surprisingly, was intact. He handed it back to me.
“Since these are … special circumstances,” he shouted, “I’m going to give this back to you. But don’t play with it again!”
I thanked him. I slid the phone into my laptop bag. My cellmates started laughing when he left the room.

Gibbons on Reporter’s Arrest

Statement from Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, as reported by The Tennessean:
“As I noted in our conversation, based on our review of the video available to us and interviews with the troopers, we believe the troopers acted reasonably and in good faith and had probable cause to charge Mr. Meador.
“As I mentioned to you, video shows that, as other reporters were moving away from the protesters, Mr. Meador placed himself in the middle of them. To our knowledge, he had no visible media credentials. Regarding the public intoxication charge, based upon the smell of alcohol and their interaction with him, troopers understandably concluded that he was intoxicated.
“Given the circumstances, the troopers did not take Mr. Meador’s claim to be a member of the media seriously. Unfortunately, but also somewhat understandably,they did not ask Mr. Meador to produce his press credentials.
“Obviously, it was not our intention to take any member of the press doing his or her job into custody for trespassing. I regret any confusion regarding Mr. Meador’s role.”

SPJ Protests Arrest of Nashville Scene Reporter

The Board of the Middle Tennessee Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, has set a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam and Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons protesting the arrest and detention of Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador early Saturday at the Legislative Plaza.
Text of the letter is below.

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Jim Balentine, RIP

Jim Balentine, a former state capitol reporter who became a lawyer and lmore recently wrote a book about surviving a heart transplant and a months-long coma (among other things), died Friday, at age 66. Funeral services were scheduled Sunday afternoon.
Balentine could be gruff, profane and combative. But if you knew him — and i did for 30 years or so — those occasionally-displayed qualities and his sometimes grizzled appearance were far surpassed by a genuinely gentle nature, a monumental sense of humor and a keen, quick intelligence that he could focus on any task at hand.
The Commercial Appeal obit is below.

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