Did you ever issue statements to the press on behalf of the parties? Under what circumstances?


Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We would be the spokespersons in the dealings with the media. The administrators and the students would not talk to the media during the negotiations.





Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

For example, in this issue in Houston, the media finally got a hold of it because I made it public with the consent of the parties. I did a presentation for a national panel. I knew that it was going to hit the paper. I told them about the process and told them we were making progress and it's going to take us another month and right now the media is not allowed in the discussions. But they will be fully briefed. Especially one reporter. She'd been following the story, and at the request of one of the leaders she didn't reveal it any sooner. There has to be cooperation and some trust. They've got a job to do, and we've got a job to do. We just kind of negotiate, but they can be very helpful, the eyes and the ears of the community. Also the voice. The people read the papers, so it's best that they get the story right and a lot of times they don't. When they don't, they might cause problems.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So we had all the issues there, everything was neatly typed up and now we're going to have the signing ceremony. I did call the media and tell a reporter what was happening. So in the morning paper, there would be an article in the Star or the Tribune. The morning paper said that an agreement has been reached on ten issues and included this and that, and didn't mention rugs or televisions. We did talk about some other things and the important things, such as the review of disciplinary procedures. I arrived at the reformatory found that very few people wanted to bother with the signing ceremony. The administration was there, but the Indians boycotted it. That meant the Hispanics are boycotting it. Reluctantly, the blacks sent one guy and one of the support groups was there.

Question:
Now why were they boycotting?

Answer:
The Indians? Because they felt it was useless, they didn't get what they wanted despite the logic of their argument. Hispanics are their supporters. The Hispanics had only one issue. A room had been promised them for arts and crafts. They had a kiln which had been donated, and they wanted a crafts room. It had been promised to them prior to mediation, but somebody reneged on the promise. I believe there were only three or four Hispanics at St. Cloud at this time. So nobody came to the signing ceremony, and with as much grandeur as I could muster, I walked over to the one black in there, out of the eight who were usually there, and his advisor who was there and he signed. And the whites were there, and they signed, with the administration and the guards and me as a witness. Then I got a call from the afternoon paper asking me, "Did it really matter that everybody didn't sign?" The residents had been talking to the press. I said "Absolutely not, the agreement stands." We actually delayed the signing for two weeks because of the stateís gubernatorial election. We signed after Election Day. That's because no governor wants either corrections or mental health in the newspapers. They just don't want any publicity on those issues at election time. I didn't have to be told that.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well, when we went into formal mediation we would address the press issue and it might be that all statements will be made by the mediator, by representatives of each party, or we will jointly put out a statement after each session. Very often they would say why donít you talk of that and then when the agreement is announced, if there is one, have the parties step out from the background. You donít want to be taking their space. Itís their victory, itís not yours and itís easy to want to be there.

Question:
You mentioned yesterday that reporters are often a good source of information...

Answer:
Oh, good reporters and good newspapers know whatís going on. When I was in Chicago doing the Skokie/Nazi case, I learned the dimension of the problem at one point when Larry Green, who was a Chicago reporter for the Los Angles Times, told me that two thousand people had chartered seats through a travel agency to come to Skokie. That was real. People had already reserved seats on the plane and were ready, or had put their money down, and you begin to multiply that by the potential problem and that was important information. Or, when Doug Kneeland of the New York Times told me that he had heard of some dissension within the ranks with the Neo-Nazis, over whether they wanted to go to Skokie or find a way out of it. Reporters can go in and ask questions that other people canít. Itís impossible for me to go in and ask them things that he could. So, as sources we would trade information and he would respect my need for confidentiality. He was also there when I wanted to be identified when the case was over; it didnít do any harm to get a little bit of recognition at that point its part of helping the agency get some visibility, too. That seldom happened in CRS because of the confidentiality and the fear of individuals without experience working with the media. A lot of the staff just shied away from of the press. They stayed away from the press and wouldnít talk to them. So to me, the most important thing other then protecting confidentiality was not being seen as taking media space away from the parties. I used the media strategically during the Skokie-Nazi case at the height of the conflict when it appeared that in two weeks tens of thousands of people were going to be converging on Skokie. We were in negotiations and I was confident the protest in Skokie would not occur. I arranged a story through a friend who was a lawyer for the Chicago Sun Times. He had called the managing editor and said I would give them an exclusive interview. They one of their star reporters to my office and I gave her a story that ultimately read "A Justice Department official who was trying to mediate a settlement in the Skokie case is confident the matter would be settled without a demonstration at Skokie.Ē That sort of set a tone that encouraged the parties to work for a solution and also discouraged people from coming into Skokie.

Question:
Now why did you think that was going to help, as opposed to inflame things further?

Answer:
To say there's going to be a settlement?

Question:
Yeah, I could see where the Nazis had gotten up to that point with that statement.

Answer:
Well, then an alternative would be found that would satisfy them. They did want a settlement, but they didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't either at that point. Not only did it ease tensions of people who thought there were going to be real problems in Skokie, but the people involved in negotiations gave a positive twist to that too.






Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Sometimes the mediator will obtain permission to be the spokesperson all the way through to a resolution. And typically say nothing. Other than, "We met today and we looked at issues," and "We're making progress," or, "We're not making progress." And that, eventually, when we come to an agreement, when there is an agreement, we will help them, through our media specialist, for a news release, or help them do a news conference. At the same time, they will handle the interviews and we will also counsel them as to how much to say and how much not to say.






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