Foundation Newark Future blasts reporter

Posted in the Elizabeth Forum

Ted Cohen

South Portland, ME

#1 Jul 8, 2013
When reporter Ted Cohen asked some basic questions of Renee Harper, the foundation's flak, about its role bringing Turnaround for Children Inc. to Newark, this was her response:

Dear Mr. Cohen,

The interest of both the Newark Public Schools and the Foundation for Newark's Future is to promote and support improved educational outcomes for students and families in Newark, NJ.

What exactly is your interest?

First you ask about whether or not FNF is funding the work of Turnaround for Children in Newark (and you have that answer which is no).

Then you ask if I can help you place an op-ed which seeks to disparage the work in Newark and cast aspersions upon those doing it.

And now you are looking for conflicts of interest where there are none.

I have provided you with my contact information, as has the team at Turnaround for Children.

And yet, all we get from you are these ridiculous emails.

As far as I can tell, you do not work for, with or on behalf of any media outlet.

If you are indeed interested in writing about our work, then I am happy to assist you with that and that alone.

-Renee Harper
Cohen's response:

Ms. Harper,

Your first responses to me more than a week ago suggested you were ready to answer questions.

But when I submitted questions, you suddenly disappeared from the radar. Never heard a word from you. Nothing.

This reply from you - more argumentative than informative - is the first I have heard from you since my first attempt many days ago to glean some information.

My job as a veteran journalist is to elicit information that is in the public interest, good, bad or ugly. My job is not to promote you or your employer(s).

Your job, near as I understand that of a paid mouthpiece, is to provide information when asked, not to interrogate the source about his or her employment, his association, his "media outlet," etc.

You have no idea for whom I work despite your claims that I "do not work for, with or on behalf of any media outlet."

We can continue this back-and-forth as long as you want. I suggest that the sooner you lose your defensiveness and begin answering some questions, the better off the public will be.


Ted Cohen

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