Cleveland political reporter Seth Richardson was removed from the Ohio Democratic Party press release mailing list by staff in March 2019.
Richardson posted a thread on Twitter that he had apparently been “frozen out” from covering the Ohio Democratic Party, and suggested he may have been removed from the press distribution list in response to his reporting.
So I normally hate threads like these, but I've tried solving this privately and it feels like it deserves to be out there in the open. @DavidPepper and @kirstinalv are apparently trying to freeze me out of covering the @OHDems 1/— Seth A. Richardson (@SethARichardson) May 7, 2019
Richardson, who reports for Cleveland.com, noted that not receiving the press releases made it difficult for him to do his job.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper responded to Richardson on Twitter, and told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was not aware of the problem until he saw the tweets. Pepper confirmed that Richardson was added back to the press release list immediately.
Seth, I was not aware of this and have already made clear you should be on the press list.— David Pepper (@DavidPepper) May 7, 2019
“Any suggestion that I requested a reporter be removed from an email list because of a story, general coverage or any other reason is false,” he said.
“We pride ourselves on not only being open to the press, but in supporting the freedom of the press at all levels,” Pepper wrote to the Tracker. “This was a poor decision made at a staff level that I immediately reversed when it came to my attention."
Pepper said that while there is not a written policy for removing reporters from the distribution, he said that practically, “we do not remove people from our press list,” and would never ask anyone to be removed. Pepper emphasized that the Ohio Democratic Party welcomes press coverage.