January 14, 2013
close-up of a handgun
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Last week, the Erik Wemple Blog pressed Kathy Moore, an editor at the Journal News, for an interview regarding the newspaper’s very controversial maps of gun-permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties. We got turned down — not by Moore herself but by one Edmund Tagliaferri: “I just wanted to let you know that there isn’t going to be any further comment at this time.”

Who is Tagliaferri? He’s an executive vice president at DKC, a Manhattan public relations, marketing and government affairs firm. (According to his bio, he also put in 17 years as an “award-winning” journalist with the Journal News.)

In the days since that initial exchange, Tagliaferri is the fellow we turn to when we’re looking for a polite and timely interview rejection or a simple “no comment.” Seems like a pretty easy job, and one that the Journal News, which is owned by Gannett, could handle on its own without assistance from a Fifth Avenue PR firm.

Under normal crisis-management circumstances — if indeed such a thing exists — a media org’s reliance on outside help might not merit comment. In this case, however, it does, considering how many journalists have attempted and failed to score a minute or two with Journal News decision-makers. A producer working with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro even ambushed Journal Newsers in response to the blackout. (The New York Times did secure access.)

When I asked Tagliaferri about the terms of his firm’s engagement with the Journal News, he balked. “I’m not commenting,” he said.

Not commenting, that is, on his firm’s role in issuing “no-comments” on behalf of the Journal News.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.