Now that the week is over it’s fun to take a look at the coverage we got – and are getting:
Newspapers provide broadest access to government records – Jim Pumarlo wrote a nice article for the Minnesota Newspaper Association
Jim Neumeister was interviewed on Midday (Minnesota Public Radio)
Rich Neumeister, recipient of the 2009 John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award, will be interviewed on this week’s Almanac: At the Capitol, with Mary Lahammer. Air times are Wednesday, March 25 at 10:00 p.m. and Thursday, March 26, at 4:00 a.m. on Channel 2. Channel 17 will air the program on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Thursday at 2:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.
Sunshine Week generated a number of events and lively exchanges, including some local disagreement about a national survey of state government information available online. That survey engendered a March 15 Star Tribune article by Liz Riggs of AP headlined “Survey:65 percent of Minnesota government records online.”
Not so fast, responds Charlie Quimby on the Growth & Justice blog. Quimby notes that the headline is misleading “since the sponsors certainly did not measure all types of records, and 100 percent of all records would hardly be a desirable goal.”
It’s an interesting exchange, emphasizing that, though accessible information is only one aspect of “developing a culture of fiscal discipline and accountability”, it’s an aspects worthy of public attention.
Citizen lobbyist, Rich Neumeister , is awarded the 2009 John R. Finnegan award for open government. He is also interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio with Minneapolis Attorney and First Amendment specialist, Mark Anfinson.
You can listen to or read the program on the MRP web site.
In several conversations during the past few weeks I’ve heard people mention that they wish they’d been able to attend the June 6-8 National Media Reform Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Never mind the Strib reporter and Bill O’Reilly didn’t appreciate the opportunity – in fact, their negative take might have expanded the audience.
Take heart – all of the keynote and other major talks are streamed online. You’ll see and hear Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, author Amy Goodman, political analyst Bill Moyers and a host of other speakers on the NCMR website. There’s also an audio file, transcripts, photos of participants and speakers, and an expanding collection of follow-up reports and developments.
The intensity of the National Media Reform Conference held recently in Minneapolis was overwhelming. It’s taken me days to unravel and process the themes of the conference and its countless pre- and post- sessions. The one mainstream media report on the conference, buried in the back pages of the Star Tribune, did the conference a disservice. I can only conclude that Neil Justin and I just attended different sessions, or maybe different conferences.
The sessions in which I participated and the excellent exhibitor representatives, provided context and content to a real movement. This is a surge of energy that has been simmering for decades.
Bill Moyers’ keynote absorbed – and deserved – much of the media attention and garnered scores of ovations. And then there was the terrific exhibit of books sponsored by BirchBark Books, a local independent. The exhibit, offering an impressive selection of related titles, was doing a brisk business every time I ventured past.
One particular observation I have is that participants ranged from teens to people who have been fighting the good right even longer than I have. The session with George Stoney, the “father of public access”, and visionary FCC Commissioner Nicolas Johnson, both from the past century, well documented that fact.
In spite of the information overload I’m proud to have been a participant at this juncture of the media reform movement. Most of all, I’m proud that once again Minnesota played host to a conference devoted to openness, freedom of information, and an informed public.
Same time next year, Minnesota hosts the annual conference of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Whether or not folks are immediately involved with the Media Reform conference, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. This interactive town hall event will be distributed by an unprecedented collaboration of independent media including LinkTV, Free Speech TV, The National Radio Project and many more.
The first 150 guests to arrive will receive a free copy of Amy Goodman’s Standing Up To the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times courtesy of Progressive Book Club!
Free and Open! Doors open at 1 p.m.
Women’s Club of Minneapolis 410 Oak Grove Street, near Loring Park
Details including RSVP.
The Board of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information is pleased to announce that we have been invited to play host to the 2009 national conference of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. This coalition of coalitions brings together a unique network of advocates committed to transparency in government and freedom of expression.
Each state projects a unique profile of membership, priorities and services, ranging from major organizations with large staffs and massive budgets to fledgling coalitions such as MnCOGI. Many are supported by mainstream media organizations, others by media attorneys, still others by foundations and individual/organizational memberships. All sponsor websites, most post blogs and each employs unique and creative strategies to address the common purpose of open government. Headquarters of the national coalition of coalitions is at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
We look forward to this opportunity to define and articulate the mission of MnCOGI, to learn from other coalitions and to involve Minnesotans as speakers, panelists and attendees.
NFOIC members will be meeting in Minneapolis at the end of May or early June 2009. Any individual or organization interested in open government and First Amendment issues can get involved NOW. Specifics about the conference program and logistics will appear on this blog as they unfold.
For details of past NFOIC conferences check here. Good stuff!
COGI-tations: A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
Director, Open the Government
Monday, June 9, 2008 time: 5-7 p.m.
100 Murphy Hall, SJMC Conference Center
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
206 Church Street, Minneapolis
University of Minnesota East Bank Campus
( Parking in the Washington Ave or East River Road Ramp or try MTC! )
Since 2006 Patrice McDermott has been Director of Open the Government, one of Washington DC’s most effective advocacy organizations committed to transparency in government and an informed public. Previously Dr. McDermott served as Deputy Director of the Office of Government Relations at the American Library Association Washington Office and as the senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch.
Patrice earned her doctorate in political science from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science in Library and Information Management from Emory University. She is the author of several books including Who Needs to Know? The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information. Dr. McDermott is also a member of the prestigious National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
Minnesota Journalism Center
Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law
Institute for New Media Studies
University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Free and Open to the Public Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s another great 21st century journalism conference coming to Minnesota on June 4-6. Here’s a quick blurb from their flyer and a link for more info
One of the first national gatherings for local, online citizen journalists and entrepreneurs,
sometimes called “placebloggers.” Designed for existing and prospective journalists and entrepreneurs. Learn more…
The Media Reform conference set for Minneapolis June 6-8 is great in and of itself. Even more, it is the catalyst for a number of related gatherings, including a presentation by Patrice McDermott of Open the Government sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition on Government. Details on that TBA
Meantime, I’ve just learned of another really interesting pre-conference, aimed at the “New Pamphleteers” identified as Entrepreneurs Who Combine Journalism, Democracy, Place and Blogs” The conference, open to citizen journalists and those who care about informed citizen journalism, will be June 4-6 at the U of M Journalism Center. Planners have arranged a very attractive package deal for anyone registering for the pre-conference and the Media Reform conference itself. Details and registration