August 11, 2010

Community Journalism steps forward to defend FOI in S.C.

It was not a big paper, but a community weekly that stepped forward in South Carolina to press the first prosecution of officials for willfully violating the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The story from the Hometown News (and my blog post with a link to another AP story).

And then there is the reporter's clarion call to why community newsrooms are important:

Don’t underestimate community journalists

Hometown News
By Jay King

I’ve been a journalist for the better part of the past 20 years, and throughout most of that time I’ve worked for community newspapers, that is, weeklies.

It’s something we weekly reporters are used to, but invariably we’re viewed by fellow journalists and many of the people and officials we cover as a collection of amateurs incapable of playing in the “big leagues.” For myself, I have adopted something of a tolerant view of my fellow professionals and tend to think of myself as being held to a higher standard since we community newspapermen are much more involved in our communities and are more accountable to our readers week in and week out.

The situation in Holly Springs serves as a case in point. I really don’t want to appear to be tooting my own horn, but it should be remembered that only a community newspaperman found out about the illegal Holly Springs Fire Commission meeting of June 16 and was the only media representative present during that meeting.

Read the rest ...

No comments: