Ryersonian reporter barred from tweeting at Twitter event

Kirstine Stewart and Sangita Patel. (Meg Campbell, Twitter)

Kirstine Stewart and Sangita Patel take a selfie at Wednesday’s event hosted by the RTA School of Media with Women in Communications and Technology. (Meg Campbell, Twitter)

A Ryersonian reporter was barred Wednesday from attending, tweeting and taking photos at a Ryerson campus event featuring Kirstine Stewart, the vice-president of North American media partnerships for Twitter Inc.

The reporter was turned away from the event, a conversation with Stewart put on by the RTA School of Media in conjunction with Women in Communications and Technology, by door staff. The staff cited an agreement with Stewart’s handlers to keep the press out. When the reporter returned asking to only take a photo of Stewart, door staff again said the media ban was in agreement with her handlers for the event.

Melissa Malone, project assistant for the RTA School of Media, confirmed to The Ryersonian that it was Stewart’s handlers that made the decision to keep members of the press from covering the discussion, held at the Rogers Communications Centre.

The Ryersonian reached out to one of the organizers of the event, who did not immediately respond to an email inquiry about the decision.

That same day, Ryersonian reporters were also told they could not record or simulcast The Third Annual Jack Layton Memorial Lecture given by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, an event hosted by the Faculty of Arts.

However, Daorcey Le Bray, communications adviser to the mayor, told The Ryersonian that the reason was not due to a specific media policy, but more about the speech itself.

“The main reason is that it’s very likely that he could give this speech again at a later time and we don’t want a recording of it to mean that we could only give it once,” Le Bray said in an email response.

Michael Forbes, manager of media relations for Ryerson, told the newsroom by email that the level of media access to on-campus events is determined by event organizers, often deferring to the wishes of the guest speaker.

“If a faculty organizes an event it’s up to them to determine the level of media access they want to permit, a decision that is usually made in conjunction with any guest speakers,” he said. “Some speakers do not feel comfortable speaking when media are in attendance and we have to respect their concerns.”

This is not the first time that The Ryersonian has been turned away from an on-campus event this year. In September, a Ryersonian staff member was barred from attending an event in which Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s (MLSE) CEO Tim Leiweke was speaking, hosted by Ryerson’s MBA program.

At the time, MLSE spokesman Dave Haggith told The Ryersonian that the organization does not handle attendance, sending questions to the MBA program.

After that event, the MBA program did not respond immediately to comment.

This version of the story corrects a name misspelling of Tim Leiweke.

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