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Prison editor dismissed for helping reporter arrange interview

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Prison editor dismissed for helping reporter arrange interview06/17/96 CALIFORNIA--The editor of a state prison newspaper was dismissed from his position…

Prison editor dismissed for helping reporter arrange interview

06/17/96

CALIFORNIA–The editor of a state prison newspaper was dismissed from his position after he tried to help a journalist skirt a new regulation that bans face-to-face interviews with inmates, according to Editor & Publisher.

As editor of the Communicator, the paper at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, prisoner Boston Woodward wrote to a reporter and suggested that he pretend to cover an arts program to gain access to the building. Woodward said he would then arrange an interview between him and a certain inmate.

Woodward had previously criticized the new policy in the prison newspaper. The rule, in effect since last October, bans all face-to- face interviews with prisoners to prevent them from gaining publicity and possible celebrity status. The press can talk to inmates if they are placed on the prisoners’ visitor list, and inmates may telephone or write journalists.

Woodward, who has spent 15 years in the prison on drug and weapon convictions, was also confined to quarters for five days because of the infraction.