Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater is once again showing her unorthodox approach to dealing with the press. The former Palm Beach Post crime reporter -- who created controversy in June with an ill-advised attempt to "call truth to the media" -- sent out an email to several area reporters this morning reminding them of a fundraiser for the daughter of a police officer who is suffering from leukemia. Because the young girl is losing her hair due to chemotherapy treatments, several officers are donating ten dollars to her medical care and getting their heads shaved in solidarity.
That's great. But Slater wants reporters to get in on the act and she offers this "incentive" in the email:
"Any reporter/photographer who shaves his or [her] head – preferably on camera – will be rewarded with an exclusive the next time we’ve got something going on!"
Okay, I don't want to get unduly heavy, but there's plenty wrong with this picture. For one, reporters shouldn't donate to police fundraisers, no matter how good the cause (write about it, sure, donate, no). For another, public information officers shouldn't trade scoops for favors. When Slater rewards the shaven reporters (if any actually take the offer), is she going to withhold important information about public safety to other news outlets?
The full email is below (and fore more check out the department's MySpace page-- and yes it has a MySpace page):
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From: Slater, Stephanie [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 9:07 AM To: Police Media Distribution Subject: Story/Photo Op TODAY
Just a reminder that our “Bald is Beautiful” head shaving event for Maggie Schoenfeld is today from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. We hope that you or someone from your news outlet will be able to attend.
And here’s the incentive: Any reporter/photographer who shaves his or head – preferably on camera – will be rewarded with an exclusive the next time we’ve got something going on!
Hope to see you there.