Program addresses media access

June 3, 2010
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IL staff reporter Rebecca Berfanger wrote this post.

Here at Indiana Lawyer it usually isn’t too difficult to get information for articles. While that’s not always the case, for the most part our sources are our readers and subscribers. So I like to think they understand that by helping IL reporters their information will be treated fairly and accurately. In fact, sometimes I’m still surprised how much information attorneys are willing to share with me on some stories. It’s also a pleasant surprise that many sources are willing to go the extra mile to share information, including a cell phone number to reach them when they’re out of the office, or an e-mail sent long after regular business hours are over.

But not every bit of information is easy to find, and we’re not naïve in thinking that every journalist has it as easy as we often do when it comes to information gathering.

To explain what journalists have to overcome, Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, with support from the I.U. School of Journalism, WTIU and Elon University has put together a new DVD: “Access Denied: Navigating the Legal Challenges to Newsgathering.” It features a round-table discussion of scholars, journalists, and attorneys on some of the issues journalists face when trying to access information that prior to 9/11 was thought of as public and accessible.

The program will also air on Bloomington PBS affiliate WTIU, which is also available to DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers with the Indianapolis local stations package. The first part was broadcast today at 1 p.m., and will again be aired June 10 at 9 p.m., and June 20 at 4 p.m. The second part will air June 10 at 1 p.m., June 17 at 9 p.m., and June 20 at 5 p.m.

“New privacy rights, restrictions on federal and state freedom of information laws, secret judicial dockets and the closure of traditionally public records are making information harder to access in both the public and private sectors,” professor Fred H. Cate, who moderated the forum, said in a news release.

Panelists include David Cuillier, a former reporter and editor and current assistant professor in the University of Arizona School of Journalism and the Freedom of Information Committee chairman for the Society of Professional Journalists; Stephen Key, a former journalist who is general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, which happens to be in the same building as Indiana Lawyer’s offices; Jane E. Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law and a faculty member at the University of Minnesota; Toni Locy, the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting at Washington & Lee University and a former reporter for the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Associated Press; and Dennis R. Ryerson, editor and vice president of The Indianapolis Star.

“Every communication and journalism school in the United States, every law school offering media and communications law courses, every state media association, and every state open records or public access group,” will receive a copy of the DVD, according to the release. There will also be a discussion guide available online.
 

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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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