Opinion: Vince Robinson resigns

City of Fort Wayne Seal

Dan Turkette, at Angry White Boy,  posted at 4:28 the following:

Vince Robinson has resigned from the position of City of Fort Wayne Public Information Director. His resignation has been accepted. The Mayor thanks him for his service and wishes him well in the future.

Michael Joyner has been appointed to serve as Interim Director of Public Information.

WANE-15 just broke it with a quick statement during their 5 pm newscast.

I’ve yet to see anything come through e-mail from the City.  I know Dan has better sources than I do, so it doesn’t surprise me that Dan would have it.

Sorry for the misleading title –  this is not going to be an opinion post on his resignation, so much as commentary on another related issue.

What irks me about this is the fact that several months ago, shortly before Robinson’s appointment to the PIO position, I had requested to be added to the “holy grail” of e-mail lists – that of the advance notification list which local media receives.  This includes notices of press conferences, before they happen, I’m guessing the Mayor’s weekly schedule, etc.  For those who don’t know, the City maintains another email list which is basically used to distribute press releases and notifications, after the fact.  This list is a public list.  There are some statutes that govern how and when you can be added.

What this has meant for me has been a “cat and mouse” game of keeping my ears open for hints of possible press conferences, then emailing the PIOs for confirmation and approval to attend.  Not once, in any of the press conferences did I ask for permission to attend, was I denied.  It’s been frustrating because I end up missing more than I’ve attended and this creates holes in coverage of certain issues – like Renaissance Square and the Light Lease.  Often times, I am off base with my information and surmises, which wastes my time and that of the PIOs.

Anyway, when I made the request to PIO Rachel Blakeman, I was told the decision would be held until the new head of the PIO office could be selected.  I was fine with that and waited.  A short time later, Vince Robinson was hired and began his stint as lead PIO.  A few weeks after that, around the first of September, I met with PIOs Vince Robinson and  Rachel Blakeman.  The meeting went well and I was hopeful.

Part of the discussion, centered around the need for some sort of process to be put into place so that if other bloggers asked, they would be able to accommodate them.  I completely understood this and have never asked for preferential treatment from anyone in the City.   I realize that I am not “official” or credentialed media, but do feel there is high value to what I am able to offer on this blog.  I also understand the security concerns over allowing anyone or everyone to have the schedule information and other tidbits available.  In short, again, I wasn’t asking for preferential treatment and realized there would be responsibilities with such permission.

I did ask how many other bloggers had asked for what I was asking, and the indication was none.

I was told at the end of that meeting, that the issue would be worked on and probably in the next week or two, they would have something in place and my request could be granted.  Well, it’s two months later, and now, with Robinson’s resignation, probably nothing will happen – AGAIN.  For the record, I did email a follow up query to Robinson on October 13, 2009 – it went unanswered.

So, for the time being, the cat-and-mouse game of when and where a press conference will occur continues.  It will probably continue until after the new lead PIO is selected.


  1. What governments everywhere need to do is throw out the old rules about who qualifies to be called “media.” Look at what NASA did in connection with today’s shuttle launch. They invited 100 Twitter users into the press site, the closest vantage point from which to watch a launch, for a “Tweetup.” In one move, they probably reached more people via a social networking site than they did through all of the mainstream media. Their post-launch news conference included “reporters” from web sites and blogs.

    I’m sorry, but the old rules are out the window and this death grip some governments have on information is backfiring on them. People like you WANT to get the word out. You don’t have any particular disposition to be negative, but the conventional wisdom says treat everyone with suspicion and don’t let anyone in who doesn’t have a press, a transmission tower or a lawyer.

    • It is about control of the information, but one wonders if things would still get so blown out of proportion at times if there wasn’t the “air” of mystery or “secrecy”. To be fair, part of the issue is management, not only of the information, but also management of resources to deal with increased inquiries and such.

      All I can do is keep pushing forward on it.


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