The New York City Police Department plans to move reporters out of an office within One Police Plaza, which the press has referred to as “the Shack” for the majority of my lifetime. The office was set up in 1973, and the name harks back to tenement apartments on Mulberry Street near the old police headquarters. Reporters used these flats to be able to work nearby and referred to them as “shacks.” The Daily News, New York Post, The New York Times, WCBS, New York Public Radio, Newsday and The Associated Press, in response to the relocation, have requested a pause until the organizations can meet with the NYPD, which wants to relocate the reporters into a trailer adjacent to the current headquarters.
Whether or not that meeting happens, it doesn’t seem likely that it will reverse the NYPD’s decision. A spokesperson told Vanity Fair that Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Sheppard “previously met and spoke with representatives from each media outlet that occupies the existing press area inside Police Headquarters and explained that the move is simply to accommodate additional outlets that have asked to cover the NYPD in the same manner.”
Apparently, the trailer has conference rooms and toilets. What an upgrade! City & State doesn’t use the Shack. But it stands by its peers in wanting to keep the old, grimy office – the only foothold the press has inside police headquarters. While the so-called improved amenities are nice, a trailer comes off as insulting and a move to limit access. How about letting reporters keep the Shack – and give them the trailer too! Because more journalists means more sunlight on government, and that includes the police.