For a while I thought I’d lost my mind. One of the most prominent civil rights organizations in Houston is literally falling apart and for a full month not a single news organization besides FOX 26 covered it.
As I hit the beat digging up stories about the group, I quietly wondered why no other local television station or newspaper covered it at all.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, that civil rights group is the Houston Branch of the NAACP.
Beginning back in June the Executive Director was booted out and then reinstated by the national office. In July the local President was silenced and suspended by the national office.
All of this happened while there were multiple internal investigations and allegations of improper conduct and misused funds. Yet none of the local television stations or newspapers in Houston chose to cover it but FOX 26.
Two weeks ago there was a small article in the Houston Press. But it was limited to information gathered from a press release.
Just last week I ran into a local African American public relations person. I was told by a woman (producer from a local affiliate) who was with her that she (p-r person) made some calls to at least one station and asked them to not cover it. That P-R person gave me somewhat of a sinister grin. I smiled but I was hot that a hired gun could control a legitimate news organization. That station has yet to cover the NAACP. (Update: That p-r person contacted the Insite and said she did not block the news station from doing a report. She said she only provided the organization with information on the ongoing NAACP saga. But she says she didn’t have the ability to stop a news organization from doing a report.)
Local reporter Mary Benton at KPRC began her coverage of the ongoing battle. Her report focused on a local attorney who won a case against the Houston branch office after she was reportedly retaliated against by the organization. The report also focused on some of the issues I’d covered over the past few weeks.
With Benton’s coverage I realized I am not crazy and it is a legitimate story.
I just can’t figure out what’s holding back the other news organizations in town from taking a look at an organization that’s in danger of imploding!
P.S. I was actually told by a long time friend not to cover this story anymore. I told that friend ok, and then I went on with my next report!