Friday, March 26, 2010

IPS Violates Open Meetings Law Regarding Video Recordings; Reporter Andy Gammill Tosses Away Pretense of Objectivity, Becomes Part of the Story

Over at Indiana Barrister, Abdul has a series of articles entitled "Caught on Tape" in which IPS communications director Mary Louise Bewley is caught on tape expelling two members of the Education Action Group who were videotaping the meeting.

Also caught on the videotape is Indianapolis Star reporting Andy Gammill who is seen whispering to Ms. Bewley who then immediately storms off after the videotapers. According to Ms. Bewley's comment she was kicking out the EAG members because they were being "disingenuous" by not telling them in advance who they were and why they were videotaping.

It is astonishing to me that Bewley, who is communication director for the largest school district in the state, doesn't even know that videotaping a public meeting like that is protected by Indiana's Open Meetings law. Further those audio or videotaping a meeting do not have to identify who they are or provide an explanation why they are taping, contrary to what Bewley suggests.

Gammill's performance, on the other hand is disgraceful. He actively participated in turning in someone in for videotaping, apparently clueless that the videotaping is protected by law. That a Indianapolis Star reporter would be taking a position contrary to Indiana's Open Meetings law, which law is critical to protecting the right of reporters to cover meetings and the public's right to know, is bad enough. What is worse is that Gammill shot his objectivity to pieces by his eagerness to assist the IPS administration in targeting an education reform group. Gammill should be fired. As this story filters out, he will no credibility in this town when it comes to reporting on IPS and education reform issues.


Diana Vice said...

These schools are cesspools of corruption, and to think that a great portion of our tax dollars are extorted from us to fund this nonsense. I see two people in that video who should be fired! The woman was an absolute witch! Andy Gammill will never have any credibility on education issues once this gets out. No wonder people love real investigative reporters like Russ McQuaid. He doesn't cozy up with those he's reporting about.

Downtown Indy said...

The print media is hurting these days. I guess having the competition kicked out is one way to protect one's phony balony job.

Marycatherine Barton said...

We should find out more about the background of Andy Gammill, and as one who lives in the IPS district, I am calling for the discharge of Mary Louise Bewley. I already know not to trust the Gannett STAR.

M Theory said...

Heard on WIBC news this morning that they are rewarding the lowest performing school systems in Indiana with stimulus money!

Cato said...

As I have repeatedly said, the Star is in the business of manufacturing the news, of customizing the message Indy's power elite wants delivered.

They are not a detached and critical mirror.

The Star is an insidious exercise in state-controlled media.

Downtown Indy said... has their 'take' on the episode online.

Gammill has had them on his radar for close to a year: Gammill's IndyStar blog page

Had Enough Indy? said...

Education reporting by the Star has never been very complex. They take whatever they are told by the district administrators and leave it at that. Gammill appears to be no exception. The most courage the Star has shown is to post the Superintendent salaries two times. And, Tully tiptoes somewhat into the complexity.

I can't remember Bewley's maiden name - but wasn't she a Star reporter back when she landed the PR position with IPS?

Two cheers for Abdul for posting this video. I'll have to poke over there and see what else he has on the subject.

Nicolas Martin said...

It doesn't appear that the "Open Door Law" was violated.

Why didn't the Star report the ejection? Were the local electronic media sent press releases and invited to attend?