By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
InDepthNH.org posted where Gov. Chris Sununu will hold bill signings Friday after his office sent out a media advisory at 3:21 p.m. Thursday saying where he will be and which bills he will sign. Sununu’s press office threatened to cut off future advisories to InDepthNH.org for posting it.
Because the bill signings will be at places that are often frequented by the public, I thought the press release was intended to let people know if they wanted to attend so I posted it within about an hour.
The press release from Gov. Sununu’s press office contained the statement “for planning purposes only” at the top highlighted in yellow, which I didn’t take as a mandate. I am not sure I noticed it and was focused on the possibility that people might want to attend as Sununu often sends out photos of himself flanked by supporters signing bills with people who supported the particular legislation and Friday will involve bills he will sign into law in four different communities. See posted press release here:
I have been a reporter for more than three decades and have missed an “embargo” on only one news release during that time that I recall and mistakenly published it early. This was not an embargo. It was an advisory, which we usually don’t post.
I rarely write first-person stories, but believe the governor’s office went too far in threatening to cut off InDepthNH.org from future media advisories from his office for posting information that he wants the press to cover but apparently the public not to know about.
The person from Sununu’s press office who sent the email threatening to cut off InDepthNH.org from future media advisories didn’t respond when I asked for his or her name.
The unsigned email from Sununu’s press office said: “Did you not read the press release? It clearly states at the top that the advisory is for ‘planning purposes only.’ That means it is being sent to help media outlets plan ahead of time and is not for public distribution.
“No other media outlet has had issues abiding by these rules. In the future, you will not receive advisories if you cannot follow these basic, widely accepted practices that no other outlets has issues with.”
I am posting the full press release:
MEDIA ADVISORY: Governor Chris Sununu to Hold 4 Bill Signing Ceremonies
Governor Chris Sununu to Hold 4 Bill Signing Ceremonies
|Concord, NH – Tomorrow, Governor Chris Sununu will join with lawmakers and advocates at four signing ceremonies across the state regarding the following bills:|
HB 1624, relative to students with disabilities participating in co-curricular activities and making an appropriation therefor.
SB 273, relative to broadband infrastructure funding, and SB 445, relative to the broadband matching grant initiative.
SB 401, making appropriations to the department of transportation for local highway aid and to the body-worn and dashboard camera fund, and permitting the department of transportation to operate dash cameras in fleet vehicles.
SB 459, relative to a health care facility workplace violence prevention program.
FRIDAY, JULY 22
Signs HB 1624
Laconia High School Football Stadium
80 Dewey Street
Ceremonially Signs SB 273 and SB 445
Wolfeboro Town Hall
86 South Main Street
Signs SB 401
Conway Town Hall
23 Main Street
Signs SB 459
Frisbie Memorial Hospital
11 Whitehall Road