The video below is from WakeUp Tucson on KVOI-1030AM.
Lately people have been asking where the local media has been on all the shocking discoveries that KGUN-9 News has been exposing over the past few months. Where are the rest of the printed and TV news on these important issues?
In particular, many were shocked at the story from last week regarding students with hit lists that included Tucson Police officers. This led to a meeting with no less than the Tucson Police Chief Villaseñor and TUSD Superintendent HT Sanchez to discuss the safety of Student Resource Officers (SRO) at Palo Verde High School.
The armed policemen did not feel safe, and yet parents are supposed to send their children to this school without any concern? Massive fights are captured on video, gangs wandering the hallways after the bell rings, then entering rooms to beat up students, and they don’t even get suspended?
Why is KGUN-9 the only media covering this massive story?
Perhaps it has to do with conflicts of interest that the other media has with TUSD? This is the topic that is discussed in the video clip above from KVOI’s WakeUp Tucson morning radio show. We summarize some of the points here.
This is probably the grossest example of having a conflict of interest. The executive producer of KVOA, Stefanie Boe, recently gets hired by TUSD to be their director of communications and media relations. In addition, KVOA signs a $750,000 contract with TUSD for marketing. Which may or may not, but most likely, be related to this recent hire.
Now keep in mind that Boe’s job is to make TUSD look good, and thus KVOA has been MIA on TUSD violence in schools, perhaps on purpose. This includes the “Kristi’s Kids” segment which is supposed to care about issues affecting children. They did cover an issue regarding school security at Cienaga High School in Vail, which included the following, now ironic, quote from Stefanie Boe now that we know about SROs in TUSD:
“School safety is the number one priority at TUSD. The relationships built on campuses between monitors, SRO’s and students is vital. The SRO program is funded by a grant and will not be effected by possible budget cuts by the state.”
– Stefanie Boe, Dir. of Communications and Media Relations
It appears that the relationship that “is vital” was broken all along in TUSD, and somehow KVOA has neglected the community by failing to cover these security issues in TUSD, especially since they have a special link with Stefanie Boe. However, the relationship went the other way; instead of more transparency into the district, the three-quarters of a million dollars agreement seems to have led to more silence and obscurity as KVOA plays dumb and silent with the $750,000 it got from TUSD while our students are put at risk.
The Tucson Weekly, through David Safier, has become an unfortunate mouthpiece of HT Sanchez.
Yes, everyone once in a while their real journalists will write a piece on Ethnic Studies or other TUSD issues, but the more frequent voice comes from their education blogger David Safier.
A look at his comments on any article he writes reveals that he really doesn’t know what is going on, and he even writes in this way, continuously admitting his insecurity with his own lack of knowledge even though he is introduced on radio or online as an educational expert. Consider the following entire paragraph from a recent issue involving TUSD’s lack of spending Prop 123 monies on teacher salaries:
Here’s the longer version, which I believe is accurate. If I’ve got my facts or numbers wrong, I’m sure people will let me know in the comments section.
The Tucson Weekly is one of only two (major) printed newspapers left in Tucson. It is the weekly free newspaper that you can pick up at all your favorite hipster joints, expecting to read independent media taking on the power structure like their former writer Chris Limberis used to.
The “fight the power” or “truth to power” message is long gone from the Weakly.
In this recent case, the TW presents numbers to attempt to defend TUSD, but then uses phrases such as “which I believe is accurate.” This is the media source that people are supposed to refer to to get accurate data, not data which they believe is accurate. This is followed by an admission that this publication many times gets it wrong and is corrected in the comment section.
When the Weekly’s Safier goes on radio shows to defend TUSD, which first of all should not be the purpose of any media, but instead to present the facts and the truth, the bias is overwhelming. Even the tone in the voice suggests that his sole purpose is to defend HT Sanchez, especially after meeting with him personally to try to twist the truth.
(Article continued below)
Yet he gets caught in lies, such as Safier’s response to my own question regarding Prop 301 money, and other callers have an easy time poking holes in his memorized HT Sanchez planted responses. His financial donations to the current board majority reelection campaigns are also never mentioned either in print or on the radio so that any conflicts of interest are made more evident.
Why have someone who doesn’t know the facts represent your media as your choice of an educational expert?
But I guess lies are not lies with local media, since the truths presented are “believed” to be true. It would be nice for the Tucson Weekly’s writers to be sure of the truth, to go seek the truth, to go verify the facts and data and then to present it to us with confidence so that our trust in this publication is not further tarnished.
Channel 13 is now part of a bigger Tucson News Now conglomerate that gobbled up the news from Fox-11 also. They proclaim to have the most resources of any TV news team, and yet they are MIA on the recent TUSD violence in schools epidemic.
It could be that they have their own problems with child abuse, as one of their local reporters was recently busted for child abuse after a coke party that included his wife breast-feeding their baby milk which transmitted the cocaine.
Another theory is that the Director of Services to the Governing Board, and also a financial donor to the current school board members seeking re-election, Mary Ann Wallace, is related to the KOLD-13 reporter that used to be on the TUSD beat, her son JD Wallace.
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson’s only local daily newspaper, the ADS, is hard to pick on since their parent company is broke and they just had a big layoff this past week.
But is it the fears of bankruptcy and low staff that has led to the lack of coverage on important issues, or is it their lack of focus on important issues that has led to layoff and less staff?
For as long as we can remember, their loyal TUSD reporter, Alexis Huicochea, has been on the beat covering TUSD. It mostly involved just printing press releases and sharing whatever HT Sanchez has on his mind, instead of having balanced coverage. For example, whenever the Desegregation Issue is brought up, the Plaintiff Representatives such as Sylvia Campoy should be given space for quotes just as much as HT Sanchez has. Yet their coverage tends to be lazy and one-sided.
Besides KGUN-9, which appears to be the only media covering TUSD (and they are doing a very good job recently), there are only limited resources remaining. Luckily there are at least two local blogs that have been covering TUSD for years now; Three Sonorans and the right-leaning Arizona Daily Independent.
There are also radio shows that will have TUSD board members on, and the two main stations that do this are KVOI-1030AM and 104.1 FM. Both of these stations also have bloggers from the two blogging sites mentioned above at least monthly.
However small the media coverage of TUSD is, the little that exists is important. Now TUSD has to deal with this important issue, and they are having the forum below this Saturday at Palo Verde High School.
There is no word if they will discuss how big a bully HT Sanchez and his board has been…
Below is a picture that we took recently at TUSD board meeting. HT Sanchez is there telling the board some nonsense, a presentation filled with lies and spin, and there are no media members present in the reserved media section. Educational advocates such as Lillian Fox can be seen there taking notes, being present at all board meetings until the end.
You can also find Lillian Fox calling in to radio stations or responding on local blog pages. She recently took on David Safier on his last Buckmaster Show appearance and she was awesome.
Speaking of teacher salaries in TUSD – Prop 301 and Prop 123 spending – where is the media on this important issue?
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Also published on Medium.