Journalism tip of the day: If you want to interview someone (e.g., me), try not to begin with an insult. Below is an email exchange that I had with Regan Roy, the “news director” for KETK in Tyler, Texas. Forgive me if I’m even snarkier than usual (it’s been a busy 48 hours), but I hope my response will set the record straight. And no, that reporter will not be getting an interview.
Date: Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 5:18 PM
To: Reagan Roy
Mr. Roy [I thought she was a dude when I sent the email],
I am a former reporter myself, and I am surprised by your reckless accusations and, frankly, your lack of professionalism. I have never at any point said that Billy was obligated to seek counseling as you describe it, nor have I insinuated that in any way. You should read my blog posts and my public statements more carefully before making such false accusations.
Various media organizations have claimed that Billy was/is obligated to seek counseling, but that notion did not originate with Billy or with me. On the contrary, I have given multiple interviews yesterday and today where I tried to correct that misconception. Nonetheless, among the hundreds of outlets covering this story, some reporters have made that unsupported assumption. I guess you can take some comfort in knowing that you are not the only reporter who jumps to conclusions without getting the facts straight.
As I explained to the Longview News-Journal this morning, Billy was served with what DPS calls a “counseling record,” but in reality no counseling is involved. After the form was handed to him by his superiors, he was directed to write a brief response on it and then sign it. That’s it.
Contrary to the DPS propaganda that you are parroting, the “counseling record” is most certainly discipline. The DPS can call it “green eggs and ham” for all I care, but when a document goes in an employee’s file and can be the basis for denying advancement or promotion, it IS discipline.
Meanwhile, if you want to be a journalist, you should learn to be skeptical of the people in power rather than swallowing whatever party line they give you. I would expect an email like yours from a DPS spokesman, not a reporter.
—– Original Message —–
From: Reagan Roy
To: Ty Clevenger
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2015 4:30 PM
Subject: Trooper story
My name is Reagan Roy and I am a reporter and the News Manager at KETK in Tyler.
We have seen the reports concerning a local trooper being “disciplined” for taking a picture with Snoop Dogg.
We spoke with DPS yesterday and they said they have not made the trooper seek “counseling,” “on-going counseling,” speak with a counselor/therapist/psychologist or any other action as you seem to be insinuating to everyone you have plugged this story to. I believe when you speak with the media you are leading them to label the actions as “formal discipline,” and in turn, are convincing the public that more serious action was taken, when that is not the case.
DPS counsels and coaches their employees regularly, just as most superiors in any other business. These actions do not fall under the category of “formal discipline.”
We received your press release concerning this matter yesterday and chose not to publish it. We feel the information you provided, after speaking with DPS, is in need of clarification. With the insinuations of “formal discipline,” we feel it would be a disservice to our viewers to provide them with exaggerated/false information. If you would like to send us a clarification, we will gladly accept it. We will then determine if the information has been clarified enough to present to our audience.
I attempted to reach you via telephone, but your Magic Jack doesn’t seem to work.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.