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SPJ disappointed by Sinclair chairman's comments about print journalists



Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, 203-640-3904, rbaker@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

Update 4/17/18: After agreeing to meet with SPJ, Smith changed his mind and notified Bethel McKenzie today that he will not be meeting with SPJ leaders.

Update 4/4/18: After receiving SPJ's letter, David Smith has agreed to a meeting with President Rebecca Baker and Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie soon.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is profoundly disappointed by comments made by David Smith, executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group, as reported earlier today in New York magazine.

“Mr. Smith’s attack on legitimate, fact-based print journalism is frustrating,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Baker. “It appears Mr. Smith is attempting to discredit any and all journalism except that produced by the 193 television stations he owns or controls throughout 39 states. This is a serious attack on not only the thousands of hard-working print journalists across the country but on the free press as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It is not good for the country or journalism to have one individual or company control such a large portion of news being broadcast,” Baker continued.

Baker and SPJ Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie sent a letter to Smith today asking him to rethink his opinions about print journalism.

“At a time when journalists are constantly being ridiculed and attacked by those in positions of power, we would expect someone in your position, at a media company as large as yours, to realize the difficult job ALL journalists have and stand in solidarity with them,” the letter stated.

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