February 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM
To the Paterson Council,
I, Marcus A. Barnes, am writing this letter to address a topic on the docket this evening (February 12).
I apologize I cannot be there in person. I have a family obligation.
The issue is regarding Sirrano Keith Baldeo and the tabloid NJ Pulse.
I had a less than pleasant experience with NJ Pulse at my father’s (former Mayor Martin G. Barnes) wake January 3rd of this year. Mr. Baldeo invited himself to cover my father’s wake and did so from the beginning of the viewing. Two hours into the viewing I had a friend of the family (Eric Zimmerman) ask Mr. Baldeo to hold off on any further pictures until the start of program scheduled for later that evening. At that moment my mother Diane was being helped in the back room to rest and my brother Greg, along with other family members began to get emotional. I thought it was in bad taste to photograph people in such a vulnerable state.
Mr. Baldeo disagreed and confronted my brother. Hearing the barrage of questions addressed to my brother I stepped in and informed Mr. Baldeo that I made the request and explained my reasons why.
He emphatically disagreed, and then the conversation quickly changed from a convincing plea to allow him to continue, to an onslaught of him faulting my perception.
I finally asked him to please respect my wishes and he did not. At that point I abruptly ended the conversation by asking that he leave all together.
Prior to this Mr. Baldeo and the Barnes family had only positive interactions. I believe the untimely and ill-mannered protest to the request was not a personal matter. It’s my opinion that the willingness to do or say anything to get a story came into play. This concerns me because the lack of tact and the inability to assess a situation could provoke a negative reaction in the future. Yes, this may add flair to the story, but it begins to distance itself from true journalism. The third party objective presentation of the facts begins to be a first party influence on the events. In my personal opinion that has no benefit to its readers.
Thank you for allowing this story to be told.
Marcus A. Barnes
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