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Cleveland Press Club Pushes Back on State of the City Coverage Restrictions

Thom Fladung of Hennes Communications is the president of The Press Club of Cleveland
Thom Fladung of Hennes Communications is the president of The Press Club of Cleveland

Ohio journalists are questioning a move by the City of Cleveland that they say appeared to try to dictate news coverage. The City released specific rules for media outlets to follow during Wednesday’s State of the City address. The city later revised the requirements.

At major events like the State of the City, it is common for media to have specific requirements about where they can park and broadcast live.

In the press release, though, the City of Cleveland said reporters couldn’t interview attendees inside Public Auditorium – which Press Club President Thom Fladung found to be pretty ironic.

“What is more basic, what is more fundamental than someone attended this event, they listen to the mayor’s presentation, and a reporter asks them what they think," he said. "What is more than basic that?”

The City released a subsequent press release saying based on feedback, they were amending the rules. The provisions restricting reporter access to the public have been removed.

Spokesman Dan Williams said he had no further comment.

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Anna joined ideastream in 2019, where she reports on health news for WCPN and WVIZ in Cleveland. She has also served as an associate producer for NewsDepth. Before that, Anna was a 2019 Carnegie-Knight News21 fellow at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.