Journalists love to debate the appropriateness of “ambush” interviewing tactics. A way to ensure accountability from accountability-dodging folks? Worthless, self-promotional gimmickry?
In the case of the Journal News, the former. After the New York newspaper published its maps of gun-permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties, the newspaper’s leaders issued a statement and shut up. Though they did eventually open up to the New York Times, they have stiff-armed interview requests from many publications, including the Erik Wemple Blog.
So a good old ambush was all but inevitable. In the video above, a Fox News producer knocks at the Journal News headquarters and shadows what appears to be a company staffer. A notably uncommunicative company staffer, that is. She keeps her cell phone sewn to her ear, ignoring the Fox producer. “Why are you hiding from us?” asks the producer. The response: “I’m not hiding at all.”
Security personnel at the Journal News surely are not hiding. At one point, one security representative asks the producer for her card so that someone can call her. Call that progress.
The ambush tour then goes residential, landing at the home of Publisher Janet Hasson. The producer gets a slight opening of Hasson’s door, which then promptly shuts. The outing produces absolutely no insight on why the Journal News decided to publish the names and addresses of gun-permit holders, though a great deal on just how determined the leadership of a newspaper is determined to dodge tough questions.