The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 Latest Slideshows

Swoon Art Wall at the ICA

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on the Boston Waterfront

Art Show with the Tower & the Fool at Johnny Cupcakes

How To Write A Dianne Wilkerson Hit Piece In Eight Easy Steps

I’m almost certain that I caught State Senator Dianne Wilkerson doing something slimy earlier today. The only problem is that I’m too lazy to pursue the mundane dirty work required to weave my hunch into a credible story. The truth is, despite living in the Second Suffolk Senate District, I could care less about who wins this race. Don’t believe me? Just wait until the new Phoenix drops on Thursday – I profiled William Leonard, the Socialist Workers Party candidate who’s running against Wilkerson and Sonia Chang-Diaz. Right now it looks like I’m supporting him.

But just because I’ve had enough with all the Wilkerson slander – whether it’s accurate or not – doesn’t mean there aren’t herds of other writers on the prowl. For them I’m dropping these here tips, which were drawn from notes I took this afternoon at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, where, from the corner I was standing, it looked like there was a Dianne Wilkerson rally dressed up as a “Hip-Hop Voter Registration Rally” going on. I’m also offering suggestions for how writers can follow-up on these tips, though I recommend applying your own creative spins.

News Tip #1: There were no visible indications that this rally – which featured rappers Joell Ortiz and Bow Wow, by the way – had anything to do with the Wilkerson campaign. 
How To Follow Up: Contact Wilkerson’s campaign office (617-445-8683 or and ask if the senator was affiliated with the event. My guess is that they’ll tell you some of their workers may have been coincidentally volunteering down there.

News Tip #2: There were two women on stage at the Reggie Lewis Center who were heavy-handedly boosting the senator. One even taught the teens where to write "Wilkerson" on the ballot in case they are not given stickers.
How To Follow Up: Get back on the phone with the Wilkerson campaign, and this time ask if these women were speaking on behalf of the senator. When they claim that they weren’t, ask if anyone at all was dispatched to represent the campaign.

News Tip #3: There doesn’t appear to be any good reason that Wilkerson couldn’t have just made this a transparent Dianne Wilkerson rally, which probably means there is a good reason.
How To Follow Up: I suggest finding out if the Reggie Lewis Center donated the space for free. I would have to check who runs the RLC as well as Massachusetts campaign finance and election regulations, but they may only be allowed to permit non-profits (as opposed to political campaigns) to ride for free.

News Tip #4: Though nobody could tell me who was in charge, two people I spoke with said, “Cornell.” Unless the Ivy League university hired Bow Wow to come to Roxbury, I’m assuming they meant Cornell Mills, as in Wilkerson’s son.
How To Follow Up: This should be simple enough – simply call the campaign office and put in a request to speak with him.

News Tip #5: I asked at least six people how many voters were registered during this event, and not one had any definitive answers. When I left at about 4pm, there was an envelope with approximately 60 completed forms leaving the building, but workers couldn’t confirm if there was an earlier package that already went out.
How To Follow Up: Find out if these applications ever made it to the Election Department (617-635-4634). If they didn’t, then you have a story on your hands no matter who was responsible for this event.

News Tip #6: Bow Wow and Joell Ortiz were presumably hired for this event, and I’m guessing that someone had to pay for them to come up here (although it appears Bow Wow may be paying it forward).
How To Follow Up: Follow the money. It might be difficult to get in touch with Bow Wow’s management, but Joell Ortiz’s people can probably be contacted through MySpace. Find out how much he got paid, then find out who paid it to him. Then, if possible, find out where that money came from, and make sure everybody got what they were supposed to get. 

News Tip #7: The official sponsors of this event were Declare Yourself (nonpartisan), One Hundred LLC, and Black Youth Vote. There were also signs hanging for the radio stations JAM’N 94.5 and TOUCH 106.1.
How To Follow Up: Call these businesses and organizations and ask how they were involved in the rally. Ask if they were under the impression that the event would be promoting Dianne Wilkerson, then find out if they are supposed to be endorsing political candidates. If they aren’t, then turn everyone on each other and get some great quotes.

News Tip #8: Sonia Chang-Diaz was a no show.
How To Follow Up: She might not have known about this “Hip-Hop Voter Registration Rally.” And if she has now, then you definitely want to hear what she has to say about it. Phone her campaign office at: 617-390-7913.

Triple Secret Bonus Tip!!!: Dig around and find a flyer for the event. There’s something really special in there. 

That should be enough to get you started. Just be warned: No matter how true you may find this story to be, there’s a strong chance that you’ll be called a racist for writing it; even if you’re black – in which case you’ll be called a race traitor. Either way, just keep your head down and wait for the next time Wilkerson senselessly squanders what’s otherwise been a triumphant political career. Trust me – there’s another story right around the corner.

| More


  • jeffery mcnary said:

    perhaps an inquiry to the obama campaign as to any legitimate lingages between the two efforts. i doubt it inasmuch as that's not how the junior senator from illinois has rolled to date. what we have here is a distraction...a tawdry, tragic, un-inspirational distraction.

    October 15, 2008 11:38 AM
  • Cheap Change said:

    The wolves are out for blood.  First of all a hip-hop voter registration rally that is organized by a community that is excited about the prospect of increasing voter participation in an historic election has nothing to do with Dianne Wilkerson.  Perhaps you take offense at the word hip-hop and this is somehow threatening to you that young hip-hop enthusiasts may be interested in civic engagement.  Last time I checked there was a right to free association in this country and a right to freedom of expression.  Perhaps you belong to a group of people that has traditionally and historically sought to quell enthusiasm in communities that you find threatening.

    Oh, and the thought that there might have been someone who said, and who mentioned and who referred to Dianne Wilkerson in a positive way, must have been a conspiracy because after all, she has given 15 years of her life to a community that has reaped the benefits of lower crime over the last decade is too much for you.  Perhaps you should read the FBI report that concludes that violent crime is down in Boston since 1990, and if you compared that to Chang Diaz’s plethora of inaccurate repetition of false statistics, you might see what I am referring to.  If you ever are to have a credible career in journalism perhaps you might undertake the task of finding our what the community concerns were which underpinned the hip-hop registration event.  Perhaps you should come off the pot-shot training wheels and write about the issues that will make Boston a better place.

    As for Dianne's legislative career, she can be seen at events around the

    district on a daily basis, she is one of the most proactive and hardworking

    members of the legislature, as all of her colleagues will attest.  She and Mayor Menino have done more to break down barriers between races and to building understanding among the different ethnic communities that make up Boston, new and old and made this city a better place to live.  Let me guess, you aren’t even from here and you’re trying to determine the future of this district from the outside, just like Sonia Chang-Diaz.  

    As for giving up.  Dianne never has said "Die" which is why she has accomplished so

    much during her tenure in the legislature.  One does not pass legislation

    and make sweeping social changes as had done Dianne without working long

    hours, being committed to her cause and never giving up.  Her continued

    efforts underscore her dedication and hardwork over the years, and the

    promise of accomplishment that we expect from someone on the public dime.

    It is clear that this is not what we are going to get with a newbee agent of

    change, supported by outsiders.  That’s what I call cheap change.  The cheap change opponent is an outsider

    who never set foot in a community meeting the district over the last 2 years and what will be

    coming if the voters elect for change is an absentee who doesn't

    care to show up at meetings where change happens and where hip-hop communities come together for civic engagement and to build enthusiasm in a community which has been engaged in civic life for the last 15 years.  Perhaps you would like to quell these unsightly expressions of civic interest and revert to a community which resembles inner-city Philadelphia, Chicago or Los Angeles.  No thanks, that’s cheap change which will cost this district dearly.  I want a legislator who recognizes that and brings attention to issues of

    critical social interest, builds civic engagement, enfranchises voters an and who works to make changes.  The agent of change is Dianne.

    October 15, 2008 3:33 PM
  • The truth hurts said:

    Once again we see why Diane doesn't belong in the state house but rather in prison.

    October 15, 2008 4:12 PM
  • Chris Faraone said:

    For the record:

    1 - I don't believe that Dianne belongs in prison - I just think she should be a bit more careful. A lot of people in her district love her, and in many ways I respect and commend their passion.

    2 - Whoever wrote that big long rant above accusing me of being uncomfortable with hip-hop should copy my name (Chris Faraone), paste it into Google, and see where that takes you.

    October 15, 2008 4:54 PM

Leave a Comment

Login | Not a member yet? Click here to Join
 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Search Blogs
Phlog Archives
Monday, September 05, 2011  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Copyright © 2011 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group