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.

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