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  • Mediator Interview Topic - When the needs of newspaper, radio, or television reporters interfered with your work, how did you deal with the problem?
    t say who invited We ve been invited to come in and talk to people involved in the school issue that has been so widely publicized in the community When we heard about it we called some of the individuals locally involved in the problem to see if we can be of assistance What are you going to do here We re going to see if we can be of assistance Do you think I don t know we just arrived and we just don t know You just stop talking and get out of there Or in the break of a mediation The parties have met and we ve talked for four hours today and we will resume tomorrow We ve made good progress in exploring the issues And you d say no more Are you optimistic You might say Our people are listening to each other You try to do something to focus positively on the parties and get out of there Often in mediation you work out a press policy with the parties They might want to make a statement or they may want the mediator to do it for them Now the most important rule to me was that the parties involved in the conflict often were seeking recognition and heightening public awareness of the conflict no matter what side they were on and they don t want the mediator hogging all of the newspaper space So if you stay out of the story it leaves room for coverage of the parties and they want their voices out there they want their names in the paper So I tried to not get in the way of that Question How often did the parties say things to the press that would have been better not said Answer I don t know It happened but I can t make that judgment for a party because maybe I didn t like it but from their end it may have been important Nancy Ferrell Full Interview Topic Top For example if you ve told someone that you aren t there to investigate them and it shows up in the newspaper or the Justice Department shows up to investigate university s treatment of minorities well that can take away your trust Question Did it happen Answer It happened a lot The media always wants us to investigate and no matter how often you tell them We aren t investigating it shows up in the headlines that Justice is there to investigate You have to respond immediately back to the institution or the minorities or whoever is involved and say I know that s happened and I m sorry There is nothing I can do about it but this is what I told them and this is still the reality I guess the other part of that is learning not ever to become defensive If someone challenged me on something then I try to respond to that in terms of if they

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2310.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you ever try to use the media as an ally to mediation?
    happened Plus they explained what we were doing in the training sessions We got the media to agree to not hang around the training sessions We felt that if they were there some of these people would be playing to the cameras So we said No we don t want to do that Leo Cardenas Full Interview Topic Top Did you as an employee of CRS ever use the media as an ally Answer Certainly if the issue was part of it we would Question Can you think of any examples Answer The black coaches case is an example The media was there and the black coaches themselves had personal friends in the media so they came to some individual agreements as to how much information was going to be released And in some cases even while we were in negotiations we would learn that because of the nature of who they were they were able to put some pressure on the case itself with very well placed leaks Ozell Sutton Full Interview Topic Top Question So Mr Sutton when we left yesterday you were talking about dealing with the media My question is did you generally find the newspaper and television media to be an asset or a liability Answer Very definitely an asset And the reason I say that because when we came to the point of how our demonstrations were effective it was the media that carried our story across the country Had we sought to make the American public aware of the brutal and suppressive things that were happening to blacks they were demonstrated beautifully in the media They d catch it and carry it all across the country Now when the media most especially the broadcast media but the print media as well would carry the stories all across the country and the minute the public would see it they would say wait a minute now You know this kind of repressive action is not in accordance with Christian principles or the principles of democracy I m proud of the struggle to demonstrate to the people of America how repressive how cruel and how brutal the actions had been to blacks Ozell Sutton Full Interview Topic Top Question Ok in addition to regular coverage of events did you ever intentionally use the media to your advantage Answer Yes all the time Question Ok say some more about that Answer I had the ability to do that back when I was leading Civil Rights Actions For example when I was leading the Citians in Little Rock the officials of Little Rock tried their best to paint me as some wide eyed militant young man who was not in touch with reality This kind of thing But they couldn t do that to me because for 7 years I was a part of the media The media knew me and they knew that I was not a reckless wide eyed whatever they wanted to call me They knew I had deep commitment and convictions but being contrary and arbitrary and that kind of thing was not the nature of Ozell Sutton The media knew that because I had been a part of it for 7 years in that sense So they couldn t even paint me in that corner as somebody who was just going out trying to stir up trouble for the sake of trouble Question How did you feel that your own media training or experience helped you in your CRS work either specifically at Memphis or in other cases Answer I knew exactly what to say to get my story told That comes from my experience in media I know the tricky words I know what they want to hear I know where they re going from the get go Question Can I ask you what are those trigger words are Answer Well it all depends on what the situation is When you start to explain what the situation is you explain it in a way that the media will pick it up You will say something like this is a blatant instance of discrimination or this is a blatant instance of police brutality Or you will say that black perception is that they are being repressed and not allowed full participation You use those kinds of words Then they come out saying that Sutton said this or that You learn the language of the media Dick Salem Full Interview Topic Top Question How did you deal with the media Answer Well I dealt a little more boldly than many CRS people because I was a former reporter and editor So I tried to use the media positively when I could to help the case or the agency Typically we would have to be cautious with the media What I would try to do when I didn t want to engage with the media but the case had visibility would be to have a prepared brief comment and say no more I counseled my staff to do the same Question At the end of each day or how often Answer Sometimes when you arrived in a community If the media knew you were coming reporters might be waiting for you or the would call you in your office Again you reach into your box of stock phrases and know what to say such as We ve been invited and again you don t say who invited We ve been invited to come in and talk to people involved in the school issue that has been so widely publicized in the community When we heard about it we called some of the individuals locally involved in the problem to see if we can be of assistance What are you going to do here We re going to see if we can be of assistance Do you think I don t know we just arrived and we just don t know You just stop talking and

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2320.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you ever issue statements to the press on behalf of the parties? Under what circumstances?
    the promise I believe there were only three or four Hispanics at St Cloud at this time So nobody came to the signing ceremony and with as much grandeur as I could muster I walked over to the one black in there out of the eight who were usually there and his advisor who was there and he signed And the whites were there and they signed with the administration and the guards and me as a witness Then I got a call from the afternoon paper asking me Did it really matter that everybody didn t sign The residents had been talking to the press I said Absolutely not the agreement stands We actually delayed the signing for two weeks because of the state s gubernatorial election We signed after Election Day That s because no governor wants either corrections or mental health in the newspapers They just don t want any publicity on those issues at election time I didn t have to be told that Dick Salem Full Interview Topic Top Answer Well when we went into formal mediation we would address the press issue and it might be that all statements will be made by the mediator by representatives of each party or we will jointly put out a statement after each session Very often they would say why don t you talk of that and then when the agreement is announced if there is one have the parties step out from the background You don t want to be taking their space It s their victory it s not yours and it s easy to want to be there Question You mentioned yesterday that reporters are often a good source of information Answer Oh good reporters and good newspapers know what s going on When I was in Chicago doing the Skokie Nazi case I learned the dimension of the problem at one point when Larry Green who was a Chicago reporter for the Los Angles Times told me that two thousand people had chartered seats through a travel agency to come to Skokie That was real People had already reserved seats on the plane and were ready or had put their money down and you begin to multiply that by the potential problem and that was important information Or when Doug Kneeland of the New York Times told me that he had heard of some dissension within the ranks with the Neo Nazis over whether they wanted to go to Skokie or find a way out of it Reporters can go in and ask questions that other people can t It s impossible for me to go in and ask them things that he could So as sources we would trade information and he would respect my need for confidentiality He was also there when I wanted to be identified when the case was over it didn t do any harm to get a little bit of recognition at that point its part of

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2330.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did the parties ever agree to a policy regarding statements to the press as a condition of negotiation or mediation?
    to have one reporter at this session in lieu of the public The community made those two demands and they only got one but they were satisfied Efrain Martinez Full Interview Topic Top Question Was it a problem to have a reporter at the meeting Answer No that was a condition for the mediation on the agreement of both parties The police said We ve got nothing to hide but they didn t want a community meeting because it could be disruptive and it probably would have gotten out of hand It wasn t that they were trying to act in private just that they didn t want to expose themselves to a situation that would get out of hand A situation where they would have to take more action because that was the original charge of police brutality and police abuse so they felt that a private meeting with the media there would settle their purposes And the community would know anyway so let s have a reporter and they agreed to it Dick Salem Full Interview Topic Top As I walked out of the room I remember a BBDCO leader pounding on the table and waving his fist at me and saying there ain t going to be no mediation in this place and if there is it s going to be in front of television cameras So that told me that the only question we had to resolve ultimately would be the openness of mediation to the press Dick Salem Full Interview Topic Top Often in mediation you work out a press policy with the parties They might want to make a statement or they may want the mediator to do it for them Now the most important rule to me was that the parties involved in

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2340.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Tell us about your media program.
    Also the United Church of Christ was much involved in communications at that time too So CRS paid for some people from Citizens Communication to come in to Denver and to explain how they could help the Denver group what they could do for them Then they returned to Washington to begin preparing some documents they already had a boiler plate of something they could do In the meantime the group had a conference on mass media in Denver So they ended up with two conferences one followed the other At the second one they broadened the constituency group the Indian group came into it and the black group came into it The first conference was primarily Hispanic Because they re the ones who were leading it By the time of the second conference the larger group was about ready to file a complaint By then it was a mixed group even the American Indian movement was there We had it at one of the colleges there in Denver So we had a large group and a lot of publicity on it and the Colorado Broadcasters Association became concerned They even had their own meeting saying who are these people and what are we going to do because they re really beginning to challenge us Sure enough we did file a lawsuit That happened because one company was going to purchase five stations and there s something in the law that one company can t dominate the media That company had publications and everything else and now they were trying to purchase five radio stations too One was in Denver and that was the wrong place to choose it because we had the media group really going strong then They were also purchasing one in San Diego one in Bakersfield one in Indianapolis Indiana and one other place that I don t recall But our group along with Citizens Communications challenged the purchase of these stations and filed complaints against these stations for their lack of minority participation And we also filed a case saying that the company could not purchase five stations they could purchase three We won the court went along with it From that time then all the stations began to open up and say Well what can we do What happened with the company is they only bought three stations not five Also they identified a person who coordinated their activities with our Colorado committee That coordinator became like a spokesman for them and he provided resources to the Colorado committee So he became a little more knowledgeable about what was going on in the stations In the meantime the stations formed Hispanic committees and black Committees and the TV stations did too All those established committees and they would meet with those committee people and they would foot the bill for everything Those committees began to explain what their priorities were what their objectives were for changing the media in Colorado to be more inclusive

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2350.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did you issue press releases, have news conferences, or otherwise inform the media about your activities?
    do in order to keep things from escalating It wouldn t have any effect upon the trial because had there been demonstrations outside the courtroom it certainly would not have helped her in her case It wasn t only CRS it was the Wake County Sheriff s Department the North Carolina State Patrol the State Bureau of Investigation and we all worked harmoniously toward keeping the peace with JoAnn Little

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2380.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - How did you determine when to end your involvement in a conflict?
    conflict Answer Several things do that Depends on what else is on the plate how critical other things are in relationship to that Whether you have the resources or have done all that you can do in relationship to it But most of the times it s priorities When this particular case reaches the stage where it is no longer the major priority There s one that is more volatile and more demanding that you must turn your meager resources to then you politely and respectfully begin to ease out of the first case Sometimes you ve done all that you can do sometimes you have not but there s still other things you need to do One of the things we like to do and I think I ve mentioned this elsewhere is to establish mechanisms to address future kinds of situations I establish relationships that address that Sometimes that requires time and sometimes we don t have the time to do all of that We have to move onto something else Will Reed Full Interview Topic Top Question How did you decide when to end your involvement in a conflict Answer That s a good question I ll give you two answers to that I was over in Oklahoma one time working with the American Indians over there I worked with Indians a lot A matter of fact I worked with Indians more than anybody else in CRS Anyway I was over in Oklahoma one time and the sheriff s department was beating up on every Indian they could find But this was during some kind of Indian festival in a little town right outside of Oklahoma City I went over there by myself and got a car and drove down to this little town I made contacts with the person who was heading up this Indian festival deal She began to tell me about the problems they were having So I looked at the situation and said My role here would be to see if I can keep the police from beating up on the Indian people I would go meet then with the sheriff and everybody else And the sheriff was a black man And he was half Indian and half black But he was strictly for law and order And there were a few times when Indians did get clubbed up pretty bad A couple of them were in the hospital I went to the hospital to visit them So I was working all around there I ended up staying there for about six days and after this festival was over and nobody else got beaten up I headed out I was getting ready to go And all the Native American leadership were sitting in this tee pee And I went up to this lady and I said Well it looks like my job s over And nobody said anything So I said it again I m going I tapped her on the shoulder I m leaving I looked around Not being that familiar that much with the culture during those years I continued to say I m leaving and nobody responded I thought this must be a cultural thing and I m missing it And so I said it again This woman looked up and me and said God dammit We heard you the first time Why is it that other groups of people come around us and figure they got to tell us something fifty times before we understand you So my eyes got as big as saucers I thought they were getting ready to attack me It scared the hell out of me She said We heard you dammit Get the hell out of here There was nothing about thanks or anything I was expecting a little of that too Just Get the hell out of here We heard you the first time dammit So I got in my car and drove back to Oklahoma City and got a hotel room and stayed until eleven o clock the next morning and went back to Denver So that s one answer to the question The other one is you can be out on the plain out in the street here in Urban America or rural America or Native America or wherever You run out of people to interview and you run out of people to talk to and then people give you a look like You re still around Then you get in your car I was down in Taos New Mexico and I got this look All of the Mexicans were hanging around and they re getting ready to have a big party Burritos everywhere and all the music and the whole bit And I hoped that I d get an invitation because I was hungry as heck I was hoping I d get an invitation to this event that they were giving celebrating the sanitation workers victory over the city council At that time I let them yell and scream and do everything and finally they got what they wanted to a degree but it was something that they were satisfied with Because what they wanted were medical benefits That was the main thing they were looking at All of that other stuff was superficial And I was proud of myself I pulled that off in the second day And the city manager got up there and said We re now going to give you boys health benefits Because the Hispanic community down there they were boys and girls just like in the black community So the sheriff got up with the city manager and made the pronouncements that the Hispanics were now going to have hospital care They could send their families to the emergency room and everything else And they needed to get that in writing So we worked with this lady who was real good with the pen As a matter of fact she taught English at the

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2400.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Mediator Interview Topic - Did this sometimes become difficult because of the relationships you formed?
    s human nature You get attached to certain caring people who are aggressive doing things particularly well Young people I am addicted to young people doing things and I m just I just can t help it when I see young blacks or young whites who are committed and involved in things that are going to make a difference I am right with them Leo Cardenas Full Interview Topic Top

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/2410.shtml (2016-02-13)
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