On the face of it this should be a relatively simple answer. Leaders have followers and journalists have readers. The debate rests almost entirely on the tipping point and quality of the reporting. How many readers does a writer need to have to be recognized as a journalist instead of someone who shares their private thoughts and observations with a group of people; and does the writing meet the specific criteria of being factual, objective, fair, balanced, and understandable. Perhaps a critera not often mentioned, but not necessary required or even desirable, is whether the journalist community recognize the writer as a member of their community.
Journalist,regardless of orientation, are unoficial representatives of larger communities and should be treated differently from citizens with respect to access to official representative of communities, events, and others. They are not entitled nor should they be given more respect and consideration than other human beings.
My observation is that, generally, people choose their sources of information according to what degree the source leans toward supporting their own orientation. Accordingly, the journalist featured will hold more credibility than another one, who represents a source which does not support viewer's/reader's beliefs.
For me the credibility of journalists rests in their ability to present various views with equal respect, in their ability to choose a most relevant information, and in their ability to discuss issues from the least prejudicial perspective.
Having said that, I do recognize the fact that every time we make a choice in our focus/perspective we elude objectivity, yet the maximum effort to be objective in their presentation is a holmark of a credible journalist.
An underlying assumption for many of the opinions expressed was that trained or ?professional? journalists somehow serve us better than those who are not. But an objective examination of the facts of history tell us that this is not so. While a very small number of professional journalists alerted the public that the reasons offered for going to war in Iraq appeared to be bogus and would lead to violations of international law, many, I believe the vast majority, were cheerleaders for war, or said nothing (including many pundits and reporters on NPR). Professional journalists are not necessarily more ?factual, objective, fair, balanced, and understandable? than bloggers. Watching or listening to the reports on the corporate controlled media, with FOX News or Clear Channel radio as a primary examples, and studies by groups such as Fairness and Accuracy in Media makes this clear. Having a certificate alleged to prove professionalism means not much more than that the person with the certificate should be in a position to do a good job. Looking at where ?professionals? have helped lead us, not just media professionals, but professionals like economists, bankers, brokers, traders, etc., should show that it isn?t necessarily so. You can think of many more examples.
I live in Baker City, a small town in eastern Oregon, and I have an intermittent blog that in addition to unadulterated opinion, sometimes reports on things that the two local papers don?t want to deal with. My blog was the first to report on an incident involving the City Manager, and has reported items of public interest about his past that the two other papers did not.
The idea that papers are somehow unbiased and objective is absurd, because they are run by human beings under significant pressures from the owners, advertisers, institutions, and organized social groups.
I no doubt have far fewer readers than they do because I don?t run my blog as a commercial establishment as they do. They have to sell advertising to survive, and cover many local events that a blogger wouldn?t have the time or money for. There is a cost for their commercial nature though that I don?t have, and that is that in smaller communities especially, advertisers and local powerful institutions, exert financial and social pressure on the papers not to report things they don?t want to hear. Advertisers sometimes pull or threaten to pull their advertising dollars when they see things in the paper that run against their interests, and others, like the Police Chief, might appear in their offices pounding on the desk or railing against a particular reporter. These reporters may then lose their jobs. All in all, these pressures result in papers that are servants to power and tend to promote a very limited, partisan and business oriented (rather than people oriented) approach. To think that we would create laws that restrict bloggers from being recognized as media, and thus not privy to executive sessions, means that much that should not be kept from the people, will be. I personally agree with Jesse42 that the executive session (and secrecy in government generally) is the problem, not whether bloggers should have the right to attend them.
A city ruling of this nature will be far more reaching then just the executive sessions of the city council.
If you are not recognized as part of the new ?media?, then when you pose any type of question to any city individual, they do not have to give any response.
This question must be addressed in the most simplistic terms.
To get to the root of this we need to determine what the legislative intent was and what is the definition of the word ?report?.
When those two questions are answered, you will find that the proposed council rule is illegal.
A precedent for bloggers was set during the 2004 national election. They were recognized as reporters who use a different type of media to reach their readers / audience.
The greatest lesson of my life thus far is that good questions are more valuable and more lasting than the ephemeral answers they provoke at any moment. It seems to me the more people we have asking questions and reporting on these conversations the better. I say let the light of investigation and curiosity shine on every nook and cranny so that there is no hiding place for the creatures of the dark. Sorry I couldn't resist the soapbox, this topic is just perfect for dramatic language.
Thanks for the program you do a great job of asking questions!!!
Great topic. Can't wait to hear where the conversation takes us. Am I a journalist because I have a journalism degree from a nationally accredited university? Would I be allowed attendance to an executive session if I produced a copy of my diploma even though I don't work for a commercial media company?
The world changes before our eyes as the demarcation between journalist and blogger blurs. Let's start with a definition of journalist:
One whose occupation is to write for any of the public
news media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio,
television, or internet; also, an editorial or other
professional writer for a periodical.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
Definition is vague and catch all. What happens when a blogger tries to protect a source's confidentiality? Do bloggers have rights and responsibilities the same as journalists? The rules aren't clear today I suspect.
What I would enjoy seeing from bloggers and journalists is their statement of purpose. Why do they report what they do? What is their political slant or bias? Do they consider themselves a journalist whose role it is to inform the public in a way that is factual and objective? Or do they consider themselves a blogger whose purpose it is to report what information catches their fancy?
Many good bloggers are uncovering news that "professional journalists" are avoiding or missing. For the current state of the Internet's evolution I prefer to have more eyeballs looking for and reporting relevant news and information.
If bloggers haven't already formed an association, I think they will. I've heard of blogger's insurance to protect bloggers from legal actions brought by well-heeled corporations armed with lawyers who aim to suppress blog-revealed information.
One way to allow for public involvement in executive sessions is for the blogger/journalist to provide a draft of what they will post to the executive committee for their sign off. But there are many details that have to be worked out.
I think the real problem here is the closed door "executive session." In my view, no government entity, be it the city council or the president of the united states, should be allowed to conduct secret meetings. If they work for the public, then the public should be allowed access to the proceedings. Kicking people out instead seems to indicate that the government bodies in question are trying to do something that is not in the public's best interest.
Incidentally, I do write a blog, but do not consider myself a journalist so much as an analyst. However I think many bloggers could legitimately be considered journalists, even without any formal accreditation.
That's a very good point. Any time our public servants kick out an American citizen from a meeting related to spending our tax dollars, it makes me wonder what they have to hide. They work for us. Not the other way 'round.
I think the word "witness" might be more helpful; someone who, as a person, is willing to witness an event and share that with others.
I worked as a reporter when I first moved out here from Ohio and came to disagree with the privileges afforded to me. It's not like that back there, and I wonder how many other states operate this way (unfortunately I can't listen right now).
Either city council should have some time to speak with or without attorney's, or everyone should have the right to attend %100 of their meetings.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Everyone should have a right to attend 100% of the meetings.
Why anticipate problems with confidentiality? Has an independent journalist broken confidentiality?
Why not allow attendance _until_ there's a problem. Seems discriminatory to treat "bloggers" as if they would break confidentiality.
In Portland, fortunately, community radio still exists as a media base for citizen journalists. Specifically, KBOO offers free training from experienced news gatherers, credentials and press acess to volunteer reporters, and has launched the careers of figures as diverse as Norman Solomon, Dmae Roberts, Beth Hyams, and the host and engineer of this program.
I heard you saying that the "law" allows the media to be present -- but not the general public? Why are the meeting not open to the general public? What is the REASON? Why can't an individual agree not to share something if there is a valid reason for it, and if they break this agreement, then they will not be allowed in again?
Is there some sort of "Hypocratic oath" that journalists sign when they graduate from journalism school that means they agree to certain conditions, etc? I think not - otherwise, would the "Star" and other tabloids be "legal?" Do these "journalists" "share some sort of obligation" as you guest states?
Kathy in Bend
The issue doesn't seem to have anything to do with being a journalist.
It is more about watch dogging vs confidentiality.
Anyone should be able to observe the meeting. Or, if the reason a "journalist" have been allowed to attend the "secret" meeting is to insure that the meeting is conducted lawfully, then the observers should be required to have a background regarding the LAWS pertaining to executive meetings. (It has nothing to do with ones reporting skills)
I say allow anyone into the meetings, but they must FIRST sign a 20 page non disclosure agreement. If they violate the non disclosure agreement, (govt) can then sue the individual(s) in court. Let the court decide if the person indeed caused damages. Pentagon Papers anyone? If fear of lawsuit can keep M.D.'s from practicing medicine, then the same should keep bloggers in line.
Bob in Salem
Whether it be bloggers or "legitimate" established news organization, I want to be able to distiguish unbiased report of events and editorials & activist "news".
Kari Chisholm here. I argued on the air that the first standard for defining a "journalist" is to insist that they ought to be part of some organization of professional journalists.
Both Mayor Hammerstad and Dean Gleason jumped on the word "accredited".
Both of them argued that there's no organization that does "accreditation". That's basically true, except that there ARE organizations of professional journalists and they do have membership rules.
For example, here's one list (found via Google in about 90 seconds):
Alliance for Community Journalism
American Society of Newspaper Editors
American Amateur Press Association
American Copy Editors Society
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
American Press Institute
American Society of Business Publication Editors
American Society of Journalists and Authors
Asian American Journalists Association
Associated Collegiate Press
Association for Business Communication
Association of Electronic Journalists
Association of Young Journalists
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism
Committee of Concerned Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
DowJones Newspaper Fund
Eastern Canadian News Photographers Association
Foundation for American Communications
Institute for Analytic Journalism
Institute on Political Journalism
International Association for Media & Communication Research
International Center for Journalists
International Communication Association
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
International Federation of Journalists
International Press Institute
International Freedom of Expression Exchange
International Women's Media Foundation
Internet Press Guild
International Reporters & Editors
Journalism Education Association
National Public Broadcasting Archives
National Association of Black Journalists
National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
National Press Club
National Scholastic Press Association
Newspaper Association of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
National Conference of Editorial Writers
National Federation of Press Women
National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting
Native American Journalists Association
Newspaper Guild of America
National Association of Black Journalists
Native American Journalists Association
National Press Photographers Association
Nieman Foundation for Journalism
Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association
Pew Center for Civic Journalism
Project for Excellence in Journalism
Radio and Television News Directors Association and Foundation
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Reporters Without Borders
South Asian Journalists Association
Society of Environmental Journalists
Society of Professional Journalists
South Asian Research Centre for Advertisement, Journalism & Cartoons
Student Press Law Center
Trade, Association and Business Publications International
Sounds like anyone can start a professional or nonprofessional journalist organization with arbitrary membership rules. If bloggers are unrecognized today, and tomorrow start an "Oregon Professional Bloggers for Unbiased Journalism Association", or "Association of Electronic Reporters without Ethics", that means something?
If you go back to the basic question, why should one group of people have more privileges than another, it comes down to trust - from both sides, along with knowledge (or experience) of the laws involved. The profession of journalism or ability to report just gives that person a weapon to use when the government body does something wrong.
In the 18th Century the citizen press was critical to the revolutionary efforts of American Patriots. They were called Pampleteers, and they were a key component to creating a Democracy. Local governments frequently push the envelop when it comes to executive sessions, and with less competition in the media, either reporters don't show up or become co-conspirators in keeping information from the public. Bloggers will keep everyone honest.
As I argued on the air, a journalist isn't a journalist unless they have an audience. (Without an audience, it's just a diary.)
So, the city governments could require a very low threshold of readership. Say, perhaps, 1000 readers a day - for at least the previous six months.
That criteria, in combination with others, would ensure that we're at least talking about someone who has readers - as opposed to some activist with an axe to grind.
Hi folks, TJ from Loaded Orygun here--the catalyst for this discussion. I've made some initial comments after the show here:
but I'll hit a couple of bullet points in this post as well--
*I was very pleased to hear the Mayor both refute any idea that I was (solely) a "knucklehead with a laptop," and to pledge to work with the respective constituencies to come up with a rational and workable plan. While I think on balance the City's response has been needlessly disdainful and mistrusting, I don't perceive a specific intent to shut out bloggers on a de facto basis.
*I suggested the idea of a civil fine for individual journalists (ie, those not affiliated with a professional media organization), which the Mayor seemed to like as well, given her overriding interest in accountability/enforcement as a way of protecting the government. I don't recall who said so on the show, but it was raised that this was legally unworkable. I'd like to hear more on why and how that is.
*The "vouching" idea suggested by Mr. Cox (and appreciated by Hammerstad) seems like the best idea all around: offer training and education on the ethical/legal rules for independent journalists, and recognize/certify that training with some kind of stamp of approval. I would have no problem submitting myself to this requirement.
*Mr. Chisholm's idea in comments on this site that "audience" is a relevant factor seems odd to me--why? Imagine if an intrepid blogger had been trying to cover Wasilla, AK's City Council. The town had fewer than 10,000 residents, yet you want a blogger to show 1,000 readers a day in order to be considered credible? Clearly the "audience" size is relative, and in fact bears no relationship to the value of the information being disseminated.
In fact, the true value may only appear or accrue long after the fact, as the rest of the media "catch up" to the information provided. For instance, my good friend Goldy at HorsesAss.com was the first to report on Michael Brown (FEMA) and his former employment with the Arabian Horse Association. He has quite a large readership at this point--but what if it had been another Washington blogger, someone with just a few dozen readers a day? And they had reported it the day Brown was confirmed? Perhaps it would have sat unnoticed for weeks, months or years, initially...but as soon as Brown entered the media consciousness, suddenly that old nugget becomes big news to a lot of people. Yet the person who was so far ahead of everyone else in wondering why this unqualified person was being confirmed, doesn't deserve consideration as a member of the media?
*Finally, I support the Executive Sessions law. I think both transparency and confidentiality are important, and this law has worked very well so far to my knowledge, in accomodating both concerns. Some things are better left not made entirely public, but that process of "not making it public" needs to be watched closely. The media are the right organ for that job, IMO.
I welcome comments at LoadedOrygun.net as we continue to follow the story.
Ah ha...Interesting. Now some things make more sense. I just checked out your page for the first time and saw the multitude of Kari's posts on your site. He must spend a lot of time there. I was surprised by how much might be properly considered shrill and angry towards you. No wonder his comments here also seem a little out of focus and colored by emotion.
Who is considered a journalism goes to the issue of who is considered the press, and the first amendment -- freedom of the press. I believe our founders did not create freedom of the press only to protect mainstream media, although that is part of it. They created it to protect, also, the lone pamphleteer that printed his thoughts and stands on the street corner, handing them out. Is that not what a blogger is today? A lone pamphleteer? Government should never define who is a "legitimate" journalism and who is not. In a free society, with freedom of the press, we need to take all journalists, no matter their scope.
It occures to me that journalists serve democracy by acting on behalf of the public, but bloggers are enacting democracy for themselves.
The point of allowing journalists into an executive session is to demonstrate transparency. At least that's how I understand it. To forbid an individual from attending the session because they aren't a traditional journalist is antithetical to that transparency.
As a blogger who engages in a journalistic style of writing, I believe that I do a lot of the same work that a traditional reporter does. To be denied access because I don't actually work for a paper or traditional news outlet seems highly problematic, at best. I've worked hard to develop a good reputation for my efforts--and that includes keeping "on background" information confidential.
Perhaps the answer is, as has been discussed, a fine for those who breach that trust. Perhaps those reporters in attendance could also sign an agreement that they'll not be reporting on information learned at executive session.
Not all bloggers are journalists. But *some* of us are. And we shouldn't be kept out because we aren't working for a traditional outlet.
Remember that we're talking about executive sessions - which generally are personnel issues. It's not enough to fine someone after the fact. At the point, the city has helped violate the confidentiality of an employee - and could be sued for LOTS of money.
Let's talk about an example.
* There's a city cop who is alleged to have engaged in some misbehavior. Let's say, the allegation is that he's hanging out with some bad guys.
* The city council goes into executive session to discuss the situation.
* One of the bad guys goes to blogger.com, starts a blog, writes a couple of quick posts, and then asks to be allowed into the executive session.
Clearly, this guy ain't a journalist. But the executive session is almost surely going to include some information that shouldn't be out in the public.
What do you do?
That's the issue here -- not whether bloggers should get access. It's whether the public, any member of the public, should get access to executive sessions by simply starting a blogger.com account.
After-the-fact removal of privileges and fines won't work, because by then the damage has been done. In a LOT of these cases, there's only going to be a single executive session that the person is going to be interested in. And once they're in, the damage is done.
How do you distinguish a legit blogger/journalist from a member of the public with an axe to grind?
I disagree that 'after the fact' won't work. It would be no different than if a reporter had an axe to grind and made the decision to write up an exec session. You're working off the assumption that a blogger can be foaming up an agenda, but a traditional reporter can't. I think a hefty fine and a signed agreement that's binding work in both cases.
The "damage" could be done by either person, should they choose to reveal privileged information. While a blogger may only choose to attend one session--if they know that they'll incur a heavy fine if they reveal privileged information, it makes it pretty tough for the cost/benefit to iron itself out. Very few bloggers that I know could afford even a small fine, much less a hefty one.
What's "hefty" -- when we're talking about disclosures that could easily get the city sued for a million bucks or more? Or do we say that the journalists invited have to sign an indemnification contract (where they agree to pay the costs of any lawsuits they cause)?
Again, I'm not talking about legit bloggers and journalists misbehaving. The problem is drawing a line between a legit blogger (like Bunster or you) and some jackass who decides on a Tuesday that he wants in to the Thursday exec session - and starts a blogger.com account.
Disclosures are at risk from traditional journalists too, Kari. Having all attendees sign an appropriate nondisclosure form is one way to go about this.
And what if the attendee in question IS a blogger who started a site a few days ago, and still wants in? That person should have to be subject to the same rules as everyone else, even if they are a jackass. Sign the agreement, pay the fine, whatever, if they improperly disclose information.
[i]And what if the attendee in question IS a blogger who started a site a few days ago, and still wants in?[/i]
Then there's no point in having this rule. Either close the executive sessions to everyone, or eliminate executive sessions.
Because if ANYONE can get into an executive session by simply creating a blogger.com account and signing a piece of paper, then everyone can.
And keep in mind that the notion of "disclosure" is much more complex than whether something is printed in the paper or on a blog.
For example, let's say we're talking about a case where a supervisor is accused of sexually harassing one of the employees he manages. The council goes into executive session, investigates the situation, and decides that the supervisor has done nothing wrong. They exonerate him.
Now, let's say that the supervisor is in the midst of a nasty divorce/custody battle.
Under your new rules, the supervisor's ex-wife (or her lawyer) can get a blogger.com account, and then be admitted into that executive session as a "journalist".
That's a terrible idea.
Either there needs to be some kind of bright-line rule here that makes the executive sessions confidential, or there's no point in pretending they're confidential.
I found this link about what constitutes a Journalist: http://www.newsmediaguild.org/member_info
I appreciate the job Judi is doing but as someone that has live here for more than 30 years. I just don't believe that we has citizens should have to settle for our news to only come from either a Robert Pamplin newspaper or the Oregonian. One of the big advantages for bloggers is they don't answer to advertiser like the old school media. Does the phrase if it matters to Oregonians it is in the Washington Post?
I would go a step further and allow the general public into executive sessions, that is, do away with the executive session. Unless the session deals with an issue with a minor, or employee discipline, I don't see why we need our local government to have secret meeting. A secret movement meeting should be limited to issues of national defense, planning for war etc., not a sewer project.
The sewer project is a great example because many Lake Oswego residents felt as if the secret planning was not done in the best interest of the public. The city government wanted to shut down the Lake Oswego Swim Park for the use of the project and only after the decision was made to use the swim park was the public informed. After much public outcry, the city had to back off using the swim park. Had they been more open, would the city not have saved some time and expense by not targeting the swim park to begin with?
If bloggers/the general public, etc. report the truth, why should they not be allowed to do so.
"Unless the session deals with an issue with a minor, or employee discipline..."
Well, that IS basically what we're talking about. I don't know anything about the sewer situation, but I can imagine that another class of confidential discussions relates to proposed contracts - which include contractor's trade secrets and bids. (And if they're not kept confidential, some firms won't bid.)
Sorry, I don't follow. In one case we are talking about the protecting the rights of a private citizen, and the other has to do with how public monies might be spent. In truth, I can't think of any reason why a local government should be afforded the privilege secret meetings; but I left open the possibility that the city council could have to decide on an issue that did not affect the general public.
Journalists are the cornerstone of any healthy democracy!
There is a major difference between a journalist and an activist. It is unacceptable for any journalist to have political biases.
The goal of a journalist is to report the news not interpret it and spin it. This is a respected profession and should have high standards.
To even consider a magazine such as Mother Jones as journalism is ridiculous.
Blogs are very dangerous because there is no accountability, no editor, no one to be fired if they lie, how can anyone trust news from a blog. How can any blogger consider themselves a journalists?
i do not have time before the end of the boradcast to check the first ammendment of the United States Constitution, but i do not think that Journalists are mentioned. Free speech is a right of all citizens, therefore reporting is a right of all citizens. For that reason, it is incumbent upon public bodies, or those working on behalf of the public, to ensure openess to all observers. Do i have an answer for Lake Oswego? Perhaps, but it will have to wait.
The discussion is whether journalists should be admitted to executive sessions of public bodies.
In fact, the law deals with "representatives of news media. " (4) Representatives of the news media shall be allowed to attend executive sessions other than those held under subsection (2)(d) of this section relating to labor negotiations or executive session held pursuant to ORS 332.061 (2) but the governing body may require that specified information be undisclosed. "
That implies that the media is more than one person.
It appears that the legislature has already set the rule that the representative be of a larger organization.
I don't think you can draw the line between traditional media and blogs and succeed in drawing the line between opinion-pushers and journalists. There are individuals and organizations that have an investigative slant, dig for facts, and blog them. There are papers that let editorial policy taint the newsroom and tv channels that are glorified spin doctors and infomercials. We have special "tabloid" category for papers that anre not newspapers. Some news shows have tried to merge news & opinion, but the line is intentionally blurry. (I can't even watch Lou Dobbs anymore because of the way they slide back and forth across the line.)
TO promote a free press, we want to tread very very lightly on regulation of journalism. At the same time the internet allows misinformation to travel amplified and at the speed of light, and when does it become similar to shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
I think we could have an "accreditation" for journalists. And we could have terms like "blogger", "satirist", "commentator" or "observer" for most other folks who choose to exercise free speech in amplified form.
And here is what happened recently when a journalist with credentials ran afoul of Big Brother.
The public's right to know is being overwhelmed by those who will do dirty deeds undetected.
Winston Smith, Room 101
This topic is laughable. Well, except for the fact that OPB is treating it like a legitimate discussion which makes it chilling.
Reporter, Blogger, Private Citizen... In this specific case, the definition is moot. All three are allowed to attend meetings by our government.
Who is our government? Not an "executive board meeting" at a private company. Lake Oswego's governing body is a group of public servants lucky enough to be paid - by us - to serve our local needs.
And how do they get paid? Oh yeah. With our tax dollars. They work for us. Media, blogger, private citizens? Doesn't matter. They don't get to have anything other than meetings open to our scrutiny because we paid for them.
So unless Judie is meeting with the Pentagon to plan a military operation classified in the name of national security (and you aren't over there in Lake Oswego are you, Judie?), she gets no closed meetings. Ever.
All of her meetings are open to any member of the public to review how our money is being spent.
And so reporters, bloggers, and private citizens can attend and report their take on the spending of our money in any media: newspaper, private blog, etc.
Otherwise, it looks like Judie's got something to hide and fears openness before the very constituents who pay her salary to work for them. And that ain't American. That's some crazy governmental control like we read about in China...
Um, Steven, you need to pay a bit closer attention. We're talking about executive sessions here, not the regular public meetings. Executive sessions are the ones where they're discussing personnel issues or confidential contracts, etc.
That's it. Not all the rest of the usual stuff.
Hi Kari, and thanks for helping us keep the topic of Accountability and Open Government in the forefront. With your position as one of our many internet "bloggers," you raise as an excellent example of today's topic about journalistic standards.
Yes, we have indeed seen your Google List and heard you repeatedly tell us that exec sessions are the ones where they discuss personnel issues/contracts. Don't worry, we hear you... :)
But it's factually untrue to suggest that personnel and contracts are somehow "not the rest of that usual stuff" in public service. Usual stuff? Outside of imminent national security, all public service is the "usual stuff" and open to the public. All of it. We paid for it.
Because personnel issues? Contracts? You do realize those are exactly the areas where our public servants spend our money, yes?
This is the usual stuff - and this area, Kari, is exactly where we need openness and accountability in these meetings.
Otherwise, we'll continue to get things like no-bid Haliburton contracts which financially impact the nation. (albeit at a smaller level in Lake Oswego :) Or we'll continue to get exec meetings like VP Cheney's Energy Task Force with Enron and others which tacitly led to retirees losing their entire savings. I bet they'd rather have had a few citizens reporting out from those meetings now, eh?
So I'd say let's try to shift from your more myopic view to see the the larger topic folks are discussing here. That which is the real-world practice of having any closed meetings at all outside of national security interests.
And yes, this includes meetings about private contracts. If a private business cannot stand up to public scrutiny - to include what services they'll provide the public and what they'll charge to our tax dollars - then we'll have to go elsewhere. In this economy, don't worry. We'll have plenty of free-market bidders.
Though it's unfortunate you didn't identify that you run a private business, Mandate Media, which serves to clients that include local and state political campaigns and candidates.
It's not that someone could say Kari works for Judie and Lake Oswego currently. But in the interest of openness, you'd have seemed credible to identify the nature of the politicians who you serve so no one would now be questioning your agenda of supporting their ability to hold closed meetings on spending our money.
Don't get me wrong - I totally support your freedom to publicize your position on having closed-door meetings on areas where our tax dollars are spent.
I just wonder what your Progressive clients will think about it...
This is an interesting conversation and I am surprised it became here on the site more about openness of government rather than the original question. The idea of 100% of government meetings should be open to the public is an interesting topic and maybe TOL can do a show on in the near future?
But as for today?s topic, it reminds me of a Bob Costas special where he dealt with the rise of internet bloggers in sports and Buzz Bissinger (who I never even heard of) was clearly scared of the emergence of new medias ? particularly bloggers. It appears the issue is the same here, the diminishing old guard trying to hold there positions where and when ever they can. The changing landscape of America means as the boomers gray and yes, die the driving force in the country is Gen X and Y. These are the people who grew up with computers and the advancement of the internet. The immediacy of the internet and blogging is not just the future, but the present of media and journalism. Because this new paradigm also is becoming the target demographic with the means to purchase the items advertised in so called ?mainstream? media of course those entities would like to hold off the blogosphere as long as possible.
It has become a tiresome bother where the privileged (in this case literally) media elite continue to try and discredit bloggers and lump all bloggers as one, while simultaneously saying the Washington Post is more credible than the National Inquirer or the Oregonian is more credible than Willamette Week. As with everything in life it is impossible to categorize a million differing blogs all as the same thing. It is time for local governments like Lake Oswego to move in the current century and allow the most populous media (internet) into these executive sessions. Kick out a print media if you feel two is enough.
Interesting points about the changing face of media creation/consumption related to how our generations age and are replaced. I enjoyed reading your take.
But I'd respectfully ask that you don't discourage open discussion on this page. No one needs to limit their thinking or simple down their answer to one single aspect of the canned, pre-programmed question.
To answer today's question requires an aware citizenry that looks at the entire picture.
The fact that the topic of an Open and Accountable Government with regards to how they serve constituents - and spend our hard-earned tax dollars - has taken over this page is because it stands at the very root of our question.
I am not, I think it would make for a great topic for TOL. By all means, it is an important discussion to have regarding open government.
Comments are now closed.