Op-Ed: Journalist corrects record for LA Magazine article
By Mitchell Kriegman, former resident of Santa Barbara
Regarding the article I wrote which was published in LA Magazine on March 12, 2021, despite statements to the contrary, please note that all parties affected by the article, including Mr. Wagner, the mayor , the former police chief and city administrator, were contacted individually well in advance of publication, directly via emails uniformly titled “An Opportunity to Comment.” These emails included specific questions and interview requests for each individual. Several parties have been contacted more than once.
The city attorney was the only one to respond. His response was a rejection of the request. In the city attorney’s response, he ostensibly copied city administrator Paul Casey, Mr. Wagner, the mayor and everyone else who had been contacted previously. He further expanded the group and included every member of city council in his response.
Presumably, when the city attorney copies a city employee into an email to a reporter who understands the entire city council, it would be noticed. Also, as a group, the same copied parties and city council members were emailed in response to the city attorney with a renewed request for interviews and other specific questions in the hope that they would collectively answer. or individually. So Mr. Wagner was not only emailed directly, he was also included in all of those multiple email exchanges with the city attorney. All submitted questions and interview requests were ignored.
Unless withheld or redacted, these emails would be in the public domain of the City and available in a Public Information Request or PRA.
In another case, in a column published on March 17, 2021 in the Montecito Journal, Gwyn Lurie, CEO and editor of the Montecito Journal claimed that my story was rejected by its publication. This was not the case. On September 17, 2020, I elected to remove a first draft of the LA Magazine story from the Montecito Journal in correspondence directly with Ms. Lurie. At that time, she confirmed that I had removed the story that day in a WhatsApp text. The story withdrawal was verified by me in a subsequent email and via WhatsApp on the same day. There has been no discussion previously with Ms. Lurie or any Journal staff rejecting the article. The story has never been rejected by the Journal.
The first draft submitted to Los Angeles Magazine six months ago was a 5,000 word story. The article then went through several rounds of edits, revisions, research and fact-checking before being published more concisely on March 12.
Finally, I responded to two recent requests for comment, one from Nick Welsh of The Independent and the second from Jerry Roberts’ Newsmakers in which I stated as above that Mr. Wagner had been contacted as well as ‘others. Instead, the two reporters said I declined to comment, which I did not. To my knowledge, they have not corrected the file.
Despite the characterization of LA Magazine’s history as “theatrical” and the work of “a stranger,” it should be noted that over the past six years or so, I have written seven covers for the Santa Barbara Independent in close collaboration with its editor-in-chief. -in-chief and at least twenty other stories and reviews. Working closely with the Editor-in-Chief of the Montecito Journal, I wrote about 15 covers, many other stories and columns, as well as the development and launch of the Morning Mojo e-newsletter and was the editor in chief. In addition, I wrote two covers for the Santa Barbara Sentinel and two covers for Inside San Ynez.
Until less than a year ago, I had lived on the East Side of Santa Barbara for almost a decade. My kids attended Santa Barbara High School, my daughter played soccer and lacrosse, and my sons attended Santa Barbara City College. I have supervised and given lectures on several occasions at UCSB in environmental sciences, cinema and media.
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