Support for Milwaukee photojournalist Clinton Fillinger

When I found out last month that Clinton Fillinger, a photojournalist at the WITI-TV, the FOX affiliate in Milwaukee, was arrested while filming the scene of a fire, I was outraged.  That outrage grew as I watched the video he shot of the confrontation between him and two Milwaukee police sergeants.   It clearly showed the two sergeants violating Mr. Fillinger’s rights as a journalist to film a scene from a public street.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the video or the coverage of Fillinger’s arrest, click here on the WITI Fox6Now website.

I knew SPJ had to stand up for Mr. Fillinger’s free press rights.  I consulted with our president, Hagit Limor (now immediate past-president) and Region 12 Director Sonny Alborado (now president-elect) about sending a letter to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, expressing SPJ’s concern and dissatisfaction with the treatment the two sergeants lauded upon Mr. Fillinger.  I also spoke with FOX6 news director Jim Lemon and told him he could count on SPJ’s support as the station fought for the citation to be dropped.

You can read the letter I wrote, on behalf of SPJ, by clicking here.

FOX6 Management, the National Press Photographers Association, and the Radio Television Digital News Association also sent letters to Chief Flynn, asking for the citation to be dropped and an investigation to be opened into the matter.

I’ll keep you posted on any new developments in the case.  I see this as a united stand against unjust treatment of a veteran photojournalist.  Hopefully, it will be enough for Milwaukee’s police chief to realize the actions of his sergeants violated Mr. Fillinger’s free press and First Amendment rights.  I also applaud Clint for standing up for his rights, even though he got arrested in the process.

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  • Howard Clyman

    Although this is now old news it does not surprise me. I work with Clint at tv6 for 15 year (left in 1984). Clint is a great photographer. Thing have not changed since the Chief Briar days. For some reason the city police seem to bully the media. I never had a problem with the county. Curiors how this turned out.

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  • former college editor

    Yet another tragedy for everyone involved. No one wins when this sort of thing happens. It is important, though, for the editor to get a thorough airing like this, otherwise she goes through life with a stain on her record that shouldn’t be there.

  • ruexperienced6

    Trumped up hit piece short on facts and context and reliant on assumptions and just one source, the “aggrieved” party. Bad journalism tailored to fit a preconceived narrative.

  • Michael Koretzky

    I’ve not heard from anyone that I misquoted them. The letter to the “aggrieved” party hasn’t been altered. How is this bad journalism?

  • Mac Mckerral

    Hmmm. Seems like ruexperienced6 needs to check his/her math.
    The author interviewed three sources and acquired a copy of a letter related to the firing/suspension, also a “source.”
    People should be concerned about the trend — putting upon student journalists — not blog posts about it.
    And after the Missouri incident, the lack of knowledge among journalism faculty about student press rights and ethical behavior also should raise concerns.

  • ruexperienced6

    You give the impression that Kissinger and the student reporters were regularly drinking in the newsroom and it was negatively effecting the quality of their writing. And you implied (outright inferred) that the reason why the editor was reprimanded was to cover that up. To lead the reader to this conclusion the only evidence you present is the account of Decrisco and what she claims she overheard a member of her staff say (an unattributed and unsourced quote). That whole theory fails the smell test.

  • ruexperienced6

    The (lack of) sources I am referring to are those documenting the explosive accusation that DeCrisico was suspended as retribution for Kissinger engaging in inappropriate behavior regularly drinking with her students. For that cockamimie theory DeCrisicio is the one and only source.

    “People should be concerned about the trend”… That thinking just proves my point. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story (regardless of what damage you can inflict on someone’s reputation) that fits a preconceived narrative that administrations are threatening or censoring student media (the whole point of this blog). It’s editorializing, not reporting.

  • Welch

    Garbage article if I have ever read one. And I have!

  • yikes

    What’s with all the obnoxious wacky fish cartoons?

  • lazydisc

    Absolutely agree with this, and I’ll add that it seems to me that DeCriscio’s actions did, in fact, violate ethics — not just because she gave out sandwiches, but because she outright expresses her religious sympathies for the hate group’s “remarkable testimony.” How could she remain head editor of the publication as long as they would still be reporting on that story throughout the semester? Also, Koretzky and Seaman both ignore the fact that DeCriscio was not in fact fired, but demoted, hardly a “draconian” action.

  • Michael Koretzky

    Nicole was removed as editor. How is that not a firing?

  • Michael Koretzky

    Nicole says Meg Kissinger drank with her students. I asked Kissinger twice if she did. She refused to directly answer the question.

    Ad yes, I both implied and inferred. That’s why I called it my theory.

  • Michael Koretzky

    Can you give me specifics? I quoted Meg accurately (she hasn’t told me I didn’t) and reprinted the letter explaining Nicole’s dismissal. That’s more than “one source.”

  • Michael Koretzky

    I’m open to criticism, but this simply tells me your read a lot of garbage. If you have specifics, I’m open to dispassionate debate. See above.

  • Michael Koretzky

    So they suck, huh? Oh well. I tried. I thought for sure the objections would run more against the puns than the art. Mea culpa.

  • Michele Boyet

    This is such a tragedy for Nicole and all of the students involved. What a brave editor — hang in there, Nicole. Can you get someone to live stream the CMA session? Would love to support and listen in.

    To all the rude commenters here, have you no decency to support student journalism? Silly fish cartoons aside, at least question the facts and discuss the situation before you slam those involved. I dealt with a lot of shady shit as editor at my school paper in my college days, but this is just horrible all around. Great real world experience… administration and advisers certainly can act a lot like politicians.

  • Gideon Grudo

    There’s a clear divide between the author’s theory and the sourced theory. Both are backed up with reason. That ain’t editorializing. Your comments, however, are clever in that they call facts into question without presenting facts. Well done.

  • ruexperienced6

    Oh so you asked Kissinger twice and she said the fact that she drank once had nothing to do with DeCriscio’s suspension? Then clearly by Occam’s Razor the student editor MUST have been suspended as punishment for speaking out against drinking in the newsroom. Do you also happen to believe that there was a second shooter involved in the Kennedy assassination and that 9/11 was an inside job?

  • Gideon Grudo

    If you push just a bit more and mention Hitler, we’ll have reached a proof of Godwin’s Law.

  • Hughlon Thornbury

    From what I’ve read in a (admittedly) quick look of Kissinger’s own writings, does she not inject her own tone and opinion into the pieces she writes? She is far from someone who should be throwing stones about opinion in writings. Maybe I’m missing something, but I doubt it. It’s apparent you stepped on some toes Mike.
    As for inference and theory, as one sage luminary once said, “If I let go of a hammer on a planet that has a positive gravity, I need not see it fall to know that it has in fact fallen”
    Ankle-biters might can ridicule the source, but if they can’t successfully present an opposing argument that the statement is implausible, then they’re just barking and saying nothing.

  • Bob

    There’s nothing wrong with fish puns!

  • Dave Bliss

    How is covering a story at the same time you’re giving food to your subjects not a conflict of interest? Why didn’t she reveal her involvement with the group before she gave herself the assignment? She says they know her.

    As far as the drinking thing, it’s utterly unsubstantiated. She’s a disgruntled (current employee. MK should sue you and SPJ for libel. Try reporting man.)

    I also think it points to your character to cackle about how this University supports the student by funding her to go speak at your bullshit conference session, unchallenged, to gripe about the reaction to her ethical misstep. If it’s so important, maybe she could tell the school what she’s doing, and if it means so much, maybe your watchdog group could pay for the trip. Instead you revel in the fact that you’re stealing the school’s money. You don’t seem to know the first thing about ethics, and you seem to be the one teaching this kid a reprehensible professional conduct.

    If she were such a great writer, she might have reported in the on-line post called “the Odyssey” the true the tactics “Brother” Phillip used. This was an attack group, targeting women, carrying vile placrads, screaming sexist epithets and daring the crowd to fight back. No Christians there, though Nicole is certainly ready to give them credit for being just that– all by carefully undrereporting the facts. Try reporting kid. No one at the school tried to stop her from socializing with this bunch, and she received no “disapproval” from anyone, except the editorial board (for misusing her power as editor to slant the coverage). She just shouldn’t have pretended to be covering the story, or using her position as editor to provide herself with a chance to use news coverage in this clearly biased mindset. You don’t feed your new subject.

    You aren’t helping her by allowing her to think she’s due the protections she clearly forfeit. Maybe you can hire her as a blogger.

  • Dave Bliss

    She was demoted.


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