Friday, September 18, 2009

Journalists attending Sunshine Seminar today

Fifteen journalists gathered in Morehead this morning for the third Sunshine Seminar sponsored by the Kentucky Press Association, the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. The first presentation was given by Ashley Pack, above, partner in the Dinsmore & Shohl law firm and KPA attorney-lobbyist. The next speaker was Amye Bensenhaver, the assistant attorney general who handles open-government issues. This afternoon, Carrie Stambaugh of The Independent in Ashland will tell open-government war stories and Al Cross of the Institute will discuss using campaign-finance records and what sort of public records newspapers should publish.
After Pack noted that the legislative policy of the Open Records Act calls for it to be "strictly construed, even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarassment to public officials or others," Cross said community journalists may be reluctant to cause discomfort or inconvenience to local officials they know and like, they "must put those personal relationships aside" and play the public-service role that news ouutlets and journalists are supposed to play.

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