THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER Vol. 97, No 7 July 2012
Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington • www.wnpa.com
Sound buys Coupeville weekly Agreement reached for sale of Examiner Whidbey Examiner, Coupeville
n agreement has been reached for the sale of the Whidbey Examiner newspaper and its related web site by Kasia Pierzga to Sound Publishing, Inc. The sale was effective June 8. Pierzga will continue to serve as the Examiner’s publisher/ editor. “I’m very glad that Kasia will continue to lead the Examiner,” said Gloria Fletcher, President of Sound Publishing. “The Examiner is a quality publication serving readers and busi-
Pierzga will work directly with Lori Maxim, Sound Publishing’s Vice President of West Sound Operations. “I’m excited to have Kasia and her team join the Sound Publishing family. Their award-winning newspaper and quality journalism are great examples of Kasia Gloria their commitment to Whidbey Pierzga Fletcher Island,” Maxim said. The Examiner has won many ness in the Island community awards for journalism and very well.” advertising, and twice received The Whidbey Examiner was the Washington Newspaper first published in 1995 and has Publishers Association’s prestibeen owned by Pierzga since gious General Excellence Award 2006. The Examiner focuses – first place in 1998, and second on news, events and people in place in 2011. the central Whidbey Island area “I’ve had a lifelong passion including government and other for newspapers, and I feel very strongly about the critical role issues of interest countywide.
they play in their home communities,” Pierzga said. “The newspaper industry today is facing many challenges, but those challenges also can be seen as opportunities to grow and change. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to join an organization that’s helping to ensure the continued success of community newspapers.” Sound Publishing is the largest community newspaper group in the Pacific Northwest, owning and operating 52 publications with a combined circulation over 730,000. Sound also publishes the Whidbey News-Times, the South Whidbey Record, Whidbey Crosswind and Homes & Land on the island.
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EASY BEING GREEN
Candidates open up on openness
McKenna, Inslee each promise greater access The Olympian
epublican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee both pledge to, if elected, open public access to more government records. How each would fulfill that promise differs, except in one significant way: Both gubernatorial hopefuls said they would decline to claim a special exception to disclosure for the governor’s office. Inslee and McKenna said they would not invoke the executive privilege that Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, has used to block the release of records on everything from the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement to tribal gambling compacts, judicial appointments, even rules for marijuana. The Freedom Foundation, a libertarian-oriented think tank that sued Gregoire over her use of privilege, said the privilege claim is an assertion of power that is not delineated in the Constitution or state law. The state Supreme Court is expected to take up the foundation’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that favored the governor sometime in late fall or winter. A new governor could be in office before the issue is settled. “From what I know right now, I would not intend to exercise executive privilege unless or until it was delineated by the Legislature or a vote of the people,’’ Inslee See RACE, page 4
Damian Mullinix/Chinook Observer, Long Beach
Damian Mulinix’s view into the world of a pet frog won second place for the Chinook Observer, Long Beach, in the Color Pictorial category of the 2011 Washington Better Newspaper Contest among Circulation Groups III and IV combined.
Sanders talks with editors, reporters July 19
Registration due July 17 for WNPA teleconference
hen Eli Sanders’ “The Bravest Woman in Seattle,” appeared June 14, 2011, the story reverberated around the city and beyond for its narrative power. Four time Pulitzer judge Ronnie Agnew later wrote: “I’ve never read a court story like ‘The
Bravest Woman in Seattle’ – never in 28 years of journalism… The power of this story is in the incredible writing...” For all the horror the story portrayed, there was catharsis in its rendering. Along the way, Sanders broke some of the “normal” rules of reporting, including injecting his own emotions into the narrative. The WNPA Editorial Committee presents a teleconference with Sanders at a 10 a.m. July 19.
Our 90-minute session will include: • Decisions made about how to write the story: How did the narrative come together? • In this case, less was not more: What the Stranger put in, the Seattle Times, in its coverage, left out. What are the dangers of leaving out the details of a crime? This gets back to our March topic: coverage of trauma. • Community standards: The Stranger, as an alt-weekly, observes different norms than most
community and mainstream daily newspapers. What can we learn from Sanders’ treatment? When is it time to push the bounds of “community standards?” What kinds of “different” approaches might community newspapers take in telling our stories in order to better serve the public interest? • What was it about the story that moved people so profoundly? What can we learn from this? See WNPA, page 2
Candidates must take stand on access to records The Olympian
t’s still more than four months to the general election, but not too soon for all the state government candidates to get specific about where they stand on open access to public records. By an overwhelming majority in 1972 – a 72 percent yes vote – Washington state voters approved an initiative that created the state Public Records Act. The initiative included only 10 exemptions, specifying circumstances under which disclosure could be blocked.
Officers: President: Jana Stoner, Northern Kittitas County Tribune, Cle Elum l First Vice President: Bill Forhan, NCW Media, Leavenworth l Second Vice President: Keven Graves, Nisqually Valley News, Yelm l Past President: Paul Archipley, Edmonds Beacon, Mukilteo Beacon l Secretary: Bill Will, WNPA, Seattle Trustees: Mike Dillon, Pacific Publishing Co., Seattle l Josh Johnson, Liberty Lake Splash, Liberty Lake l Eric LaFontaine, Othello Outlook l Imbert Matthee, Waitsburg Times l Lori Maxim, Sound Publishing l Stephen McFadden, RitzvilleAdams County Journal l Fred Obee, Port Townsend Leader Staff: Executive Director: Bill Will l Editor/Manager of Member Services: Mae Waldron
Officers: President: W. Stacey Cowles, The Spokesman-Review l Vice President: Mike Shepard, Seattle Times Company Board: Rufus Friday, Tri-City Herald l Jill Mackie, The Seattle Times l Dennis Waller, Chronicle, Centralia Executive Director: Rowland Thompson THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER is the official publication of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. It is published monthly by WNPA, 12354 30th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125, phone (206) 6343838. Email: email@example.com; URL: www.wnpa.com, in conjunction with Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, P.O. Box 29, Olympia, WA 98507, (360) 943-9960. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Registration is due at 4 p.m. July 17. The registration fee is $20 per newspaper. Download a registration form at wnpa.com/events and mail with your check, or send an email to Mae Waldron, mwaldron@ wnpa.com, and ask that WNPA invoice your newspaper. Please contact Mike Dillon at Pacific Publishing Co. at email@example.com if you have questions or wish to add a topic to the discussion.
The number of exemptions to public access has grown to almost 400 today, severely limiting access to public information and undermining the transparency of government intended by the Public Records Act. Credit Attorney General Rob McKenna for sensing in 2007 that the ideal of open government was going awry. He formed, with legislative approval, what is known as the Sunshine Committee, a 13-member group of government and news media representatives, charged with reviewing exemptions to the open records
law. The committee then recommends repealing or amending exemptions to the Legislature. That sounds good, but it has been largely ineffective in slowing the rate of restrictions on the public’s access to government records. The reason for this is simple: Legislators mostly ignore the committee’s work. Proving their interest in creating less transparency, rather than more, the Legislature has been adding about a half-dozen exemptions every year. Only a few of the committee’s recommendations have been enacted. State Sen. Adam Kline, a
Seattle Democrat, recently quit the committee because it focuses too much on openness and not enough on privacy. In his letter of resignation, he said, “The sad fact is that there is not an equal but opposite representation on the committee for the public’s interest in personal privacy.” And he suggested the committee include someone from the American Civil Liberties Union. As it is currently configured, there are 10 government representatives and only three from the news media. This is the absolute wrong direction for the committee
to go, and totally opposes the wishes of those who voted to create more open government in the early ’70s. If the public is going to claw back, or even slow down, the constriction of access to public records, it must elect legislators committed to transparency in government. The public must identify and support those legislators who will take the Sunshine Committee’s recommendations seriously, and reject those who continue to create new exemptions to disclosure year after year. Reprinted with permission.
Old privacy concerns echo in new era
ust how much should we worry about privacy? Near-daily incidents demand that we as a society redraw the line between our private lives and our public personas. The “public” is that part of us found in public records, subject to examination by government or disclosure in news reports, or that we expose ourselves. The vexing problem of public vs. private isn’t new, but new technology and new methods of communication raise new concerns. How new? A June 20 column in the New York Times by Columbia University law professor Tim Wu raised the issue of privacy concerns for near-sentient computers – machines that think so much like us they would have constitutional rights. Closer to immediate reality, we see such situations as police officers arresting citizens for videotaping incidents in public. Then there are companies employing new ways to find public documents about us. Social networks like Facebook invite us to post messages, then harvest data from our most-personal moments. And government carries out Orwellian actions in the name of national security. Some – count Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg among them – say online privacy, at least, is a fading ideal. About two years ago he told an Internet conference that such a concept no longer applied to younger people: “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” Choosing to post that embarrassing weekend photo or update your “friends,” and thus the World Wide Web, on the progress of your airline trip may well just be “sharing.” And while Facebook and other social networks are massive, pervasive and perhaps intrusive, they are not government with its powers over life and liberty. Our nation’s Founders determined right from the start – just after safeguarding the
rights of free speech and free press in the First Amendment – to restrict by the Fourth and Fifth amendments the government’s right to pry into our lives through “unreasonable searches and seizures” Gene or to compel testimony Policinski against ourselves. But those amendments vice president/ generally come into play executive director, when crime is involved. First Amendment What about the privacy Center of law-abiding folks who want to keep as private – or at least control the disclosure of – most facts about them? Ninety-nine years to the day after we got the Bill of Rights, on Dec. 15, 1890, a landmark Harvard Law Review article set out a “right to be let alone,” written by two lawyers, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis. In 1928, as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Brandeis set out the principle again in dissenting from a majority opinion in a wiretap case, Olmstead v. U.S. Consider what Brandeis and Warren penned nearly 122 years ago and its application to 24/7, Web-wired, relentlessly connected life today: “Recent inventions and business methods call attention to the next step which must be taken for the protection of the person … . Instantaneous photographs and newspaper enterprise have invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life; and numerous mechanical devices threaten to make good the prediction that ‘what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the housetops.’” Modern readers, please insert news media, social networking and automatic online sharing, along with I-Pads and cell phones, at the appropriate places. The two law partners warned in a
burgeoning information age that some were “overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency. Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery. To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast. To occupy the indolent, column upon column is filled with idle gossip, which can only be procured by intrusion upon the domestic circle.” Attention cable-TV talking heads, celebrity trackers and paparazzi: Two guys in the Victorian Age had your number. Still, there are things about each other we need to know to function as a nation. On the high court, Brandeis recognized the occasional need for government to force disclosure of individual facts in the pursuit of criminals. National security may also require some disclosures of individuals’ activities. We need public-health information to protect ourselves. Transparency in government records holds the record-keepers accountable and self-corrects against fraud and abuse. And what we choose to reveal is, by definition, no longer private information. We should consider all those benefits in weighing attempts to shut down the flow of information. Still, there is the echo through time of the concerns that prompted Brandeis and Warren to write: “Solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual; but modern enterprise and invention have, through invasions upon his privacy, subjected him to mental pain and distress, far greater than could be inflicted by mere bodily injury.” You could post that on Facebook. Gene Policinski is senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Web: www.firstamendmentcenter.org. E-mail: gpolicinski@ fac.org.
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OPEN ACCESS & LEGAL ISSUES
State senator resigns from ‘Sunshine Committee’ Kline protests lack of voice for privacy concerns on panel The Olympian
tate Sen. Adam Kline abruptly quit the state’s “Sunshine Committee” last month, saying in a letter that the panel that advises the Legislature on open government matters lacks balance or a voice for privacy concerns. Kline, a Seattle Democrat, had questioned whether the committee had a future last August when its members struggled for consensus. He had clashed in the past over committee issues including suggestions from open-government advocates to consider limits on attorney client privilege for government lawyers. Few recommendations from the panel – formally known as the Public Records Exemption Accountability Committee – are ever adopted by the Legislature, and the list of exemptions in
state law has grown since Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna won legislative approval to create it Adam Kline in 2007 as a check against too much secrecy. Retired Superior Court judge Michael Schwab of Yakima chairs the panel and said by phone in mid-June that he had only looked over Kline’s letter and regretted the news. “I haven’t had a chance to totally digest it yet. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about it,” Schwab said, adding: “I’m very sorry that he has resigned from the committee. He was a very productive member of the committee since its inception. … He’s a very smart guy and active on the committee.” In his letter, Kline said: “The sad fact is that there is not an equal but opposite representation on the Committee for the public’s interest in personal privacy.” He indicated in a recent
interview that the panel could use someone like a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union. But Rowland Thompson, lobbyist for northwest daily newspapers and a committee member, said the 13-member committee has 10 members from government agencies or the Legislature and just three with ties to newspapers. He said some of the government members are strong advocates for keeping records secret. Kline’s protest appeared to be more about his perception of the direction the panel is going. He cited a recent committee vote to look into juror questionnaires – which The Freedom Foundation, a hard-to-the-right think tank in Olympia, asked the committee to explore. Kline was the lone foe in the 8-1 vote. Schwab and Thompson said the committee vote merely said the issue will be put on the committee’s agenda, and that it would be looked into. Kline saw a dark motive by TFF, which he said has been involved in voter-suppression
activities in the past, to use juror information to create a scandal. “While couched in innocent terms as an enhancement of the public’s right to know, the genuine purpose of this item is to create a public scandal about illegal aliens serving on Washington juries, and use it to advance legislation requiring photo identification for voters, and/or legislation requiring citizenship for drivers licenses,” he wrote. Kline said conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch, who have been financiers of the tea party movement, helped finance groups that have furthered “a xenophobic campaign against immigrants generally.” Michael Reitz, general counsel for the foundation, said in an email that Kline’s claims were “ludicrous.” “If an individual is getting out of jury duty by claiming to not be a citizen, but that individual is nevertheless registered to vote, there is a public interest in evaluating whether voter fraud is occurring,” Reitz wrote.
He added that “Sen. Kline’s resignation from the Sunshine Committee is disappointing. The committee does important work to give the public access to government records, and Kline’s take-my-marbles-and-go-home reaction could damage the committee’s agenda.” Reitz denied the dispute is about illegal immigration but said “obviously many individuals are legitimately in the state but are not U.S. citizens. Voter suppression should not be tolerated, but neither should voter fraud.” Kline recently told the Olympian he thinks the panel should include someone with a record of advocating privacy interests, such as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Kline’s vacancy on the committee would be filled by a member of the Senate Democratic caucus. It was not immediately clear which lawmaker might be appointed, a spokeswoman said.
TNT access experiment finds many court files closed Several employees of courts flunk the request test The News Tribune, Tacoma
t’s right there in the Washington state Constitution, article I, section 10: “Justice in all cases shall be administered openly, and without unnecessary delay.” The words apply to courts and court case records. Both are supposed to be public: no secret trials, no secret files. Several small courts in the South Sound, including half of the courthouses in Pierce County, fell short of that state standard in a recent survey of 22 district and municipal courts conducted by the News Tribune. In municipal courts from Sumner and Fircrest to Lakewood and Yelm, among other sites, court clerks denied, hindered or delayed requests to view case records. They gave reasons that contradicted legal requirements set down by the Washington State Supreme Court. Some courts handled requests properly, providing immediate access to files. Smaller municipal courts, typically relying on one or two staff members with limited training, were most likely to block or hinder access – but larger, higher-volume courts also fell short in some instances. Some clerks said the cases were still “open” or “ongoing” and thus barred from public view. Some said only attorneys and defendants could view case records. Some said case files were confidential. Clerks in two courts – Sumner and Fircrest – insisted the only way to view case files was to pay for copies. Those answers were wrong. They contradict state rules that govern courts large and small.
High-ranking legal leaders, including Barbara Madsen, chief justice of the state Supreme Court, said the News Tribune’s findings paint a picture that calls for correction and training. “That’s obviously troubling,” Madsen said. “It’s troubling to think that members of the public would not be able to access records which are obviously accessible, so I’m disappointed. We will be looking further into the situation.” Court records cover big stuff and small stuff, from Supreme Court rulings and homicide charges to small claims and parking tickets. The records – rare or common, momentous or trivial – belong to the public.
“The public shall have access to all court records except as restricted by federal law, state law, court rule, court order, or case law.” - General Rule 31(d)(1), Washington state courts In the real world, that means you have the right to walk into a courthouse in Washington – any courthouse – and satisfy your curiosity. You’re entitled to read case files tied to the crazy driver up the block who got popped for three DUIs in three cities in eight months. You don’t have to say why you want to see the files. That doesn’t matter. Maybe the guy ran over your dog. According to the court rules, you don’t need a reason. You don’t have to be an attorney. You don’t have to be a party to the case. If it’s part of the official court file, and a judge hasn’t sealed it, you get to see it. What’s more, you get to see it for free. “A fee may not be charged to view records at the courthouse.” - General Rule 31(d)(3), Washington state courts
“When you walk up to the counter you should be able to get access to a court file. There’s no question about that,” said Judge Gregory Tripp, a district court judge in Spokane County and the president of the Washington District and Municipal Court Judges Association. Clerks at Sumner Municipal Court showed no knowledge of that principle during an April 30 visit by the News Tribune. They denied an over-the-counter request to view a case file tied to a drunken-driving charge. The clerks said the file was confidential and only the defendant or his attorney could view it. They provided a records request form, and said there was no option to view case records without paying for copies. The clerks didn’t know they were talking to a newspaper. The News Tribune’s survey, conducted in the first week of May, aimed at testing responses to ordinary citizens, not pushy journalists. The reporter gave a name, home address and home phone number on a form if clerks asked for it (all of them did). The experiment created a different dynamic: journalists routinely seek public records. They know the rules of access and they challenge denials. To preserve the experiment, The News Tribune didn’t challenge clerks who denied access to records, apart from asking why. After the over-the-counter denial in Sumner, the News Tribune spoke to court administrator Kathy Pishaw, revealed the experiment and asked for an explanation of the clerks’ responses. “I do apologize,” Pishaw said. “Yes, someone can come to the
counter and view a file. We’ve got two fairly new clerks that didn’t know that.” The pattern repeated itself elsewhere. While eight South Sound courts provided immediate access to full case files, 14 did not. Denials came in flavors: • Three courts – Auburn Municipal, Bonney Lake Municipal and Thurston County District – required appointments at a later date to view court files. Appointments hinged on the court administrator’s availability. • Four municipal courts – Ruston, Roy, Steilacoom and Orting – provided files immediately, but removed significant sections that by law should be public, in some cases leaving only a page or two. • Three municipal courts – Eatonville, Milton and Wilkeson – responded to requests by mail after face-to-face visits, sending letters that offered the opportunity to view files at a later date. One court (Wilkeson) sent two pages of records. The rest were flat rejections. At Yelm Municipal Court, clerks denied access to a court file. They said it was a “pending case,” and therefore the charging statement and the underlying police report were confidential. They referred the records request to the city prosecutor. The case was a third-degree theft charge, filed March 15 against a 30-year-old Tacoma man who entered a not-guilty plea. Tim Ford, open-government ombudsman for the State Attorney General’s Office, said such denials run counter to the rules governing access to court files. When a prosecutor files a charge, the courtroom door
opens. “Once (police) have concluded their investigation and provided a charging recommendation to the prosecutor and the prosecutor charges in court, then the investigative file is no longer exempt in general,” he said. “Case files are presumed to be open to the public unless they’re sealed by a judge.” The News Tribune’s survey focused on district and municipal courts, where the people of Washington conduct the bulk of their legal business. Most people don’t get charged with felonies. Most people don’t embroil themselves in big lawsuits. Such cases (apart from small claims) go to superior courts. The common stuff – traffic violations, misdemeanors and small claims – flows to district and municipal courts, known formally as courts of limited jurisdiction. They are small in size and vast in number. Seven of every eight cases filed in Washington run through the little courts, according to state statistics. Pierce County, like every county in the state, has one Superior Court. It handled 35,029 cases in 2011. The county has 17 courts of limited jurisdiction. Collectively, those little courts handled 10 times as many cases – 348,027 in 2011. “The most common experience people will have is primarily through the traffic court, and second, jury duty,” said Chuck Ramey, administrator of Pierce County District Court. “The average citizen out there is going to be exposed to the court in that way.” Ramey’s court is by far the largest in Pierce County in terms of volume. It handled 175,677 cases in 2011. Tacoma Municipal Court was a distant second, with 97,539 cases. Both courts passed the News See TNT, page 5
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said in a recent interview, adding that he did not know all the details of the legal case. “What we’re talking about is the public trust in the system, and that should be jealously guarded. … Close calls go in my book to public disclosure.’’ McKenna and his agency are defending Gregoire’s claim to privilege at the Supreme Court, but the attorney general said flatly that he would not claim privilege to shield the release of records as governor. Instead, McKenna said he would rely on existing records law and any exemptions written into it. He declined to elaborate and said he could not talk about the Freedom Foundation case itself. But McKenna did pledge that, if elected, he would go further than his predecessor. “I’ll be appointing people to agencies, and I’ll require greater transparency and compliance’’ as a condition of appointment to jobs, McKenna said. “The governor sets the tone for the entire state, all state agencies, when it comes to transparency. I think I’ve set a positive tone and a high bar for state agencies.’’
Privilege in dispute
In the privilege case, Gregoire is asserting that her prerogative to protect documents is inherent in the constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and allows her advisers greater candor. A Thurston County judge agreed last year that she had the right. Michael Reitz, the Freedom Foundation’s general counsel who is challenging Gregoire’s interpretation of the law, said news of the leading gubernatorial candidates’ position is encouraging. “That’s significantly different than Gov. Gregoire’s position. Obviously, McKenna’s is more of an absolute statement. Inslee’s decision is interesting in that Gov. Gregoire has said the Legislature and the people should not weigh in (by initiative) because it could be seen as a violation of the separation of powers,’’ Reitz said. The agreement on not invoking privilege – should the Supreme Court uphold its use – is one of the few similarities between two candidates who differ in terms of background, accomplishments and the way each might make government more transparent if elected. McKenna has carefully burnished a record as a top advocate for open-records law at the state level, while Inslee cites numerous bills he voted for and instances where he took a stand for government transparency, disclosure or protecting whistleblowers. Both campaigns have made an issue out of the other’s transparency – or more to the point, lack of it. Inslee’s spokesman said McKenna might have spurred creation of a “Sunshine Committee” that put light on exemptions in the Public Records Act, but it has not stemmed the addition of new exemptions into the law. And McKenna criticizes Inslee for the way he reported transfers of money from his federal congressional coffers into his state campaign account – making it hard to tell initially whose congressional donations
The advocates’ take
Nixon, a former Republican state House member, hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with McKenna on disclosure. In one case that drew Nixon’s condemnation in 2010, McKenna’s office tried to introduce records in a lawsuit that the Department of Energy had not included in its index of public records, and a judge initially said the agency and McKenna could not do that. The Attorney General’s Office said it later prevailed, but Nixon’s complaint was it went against the agency’s own model rules. Two years later, Nixon is still critical of the position, and so is Democratic state Rep. Gerry Pollet of Seattle, who serves on the Coalition for Open Government board with Nixon. “Repeatedly we have seen instances where the ombudsman is essentially ignored in the decisions about whether or not to appeal a case and take a position against disclosure by the state,’’ Pollet said. But Nixon is willing to look past that blemish on McKenna’s record. His reasoning: McKenna as attorney general has been “kind of bound to do what his clients, the agencies, want done. … As governor I think he would have a lot more discretion to use executive directives to tell the agencies to make all records available as much as possible. It’s a culture for the agencies.” “With Congressman Inslee, I think we know a lot less about where he stands on open government,’’ Nixon said. But Pollet, the executive director of Heart of America Northwest, which has fought for records on radioactive waste kept at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, said Inslee has been a champion of transparency. “I’m biased. I’ve worked with (Inslee) for 20 years on Hanford and energy issues. … I know he understands and gets the importance of protecting whistleblowers,” Pollet said. “I have faith in him understanding this. … He gets it. He’s seen people stifled … and cover-ups.’’
Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, via The Associated Press
Democratic candidate for governor, former Rep. Jay Inslee, left, D-Wash., shakes hands at the start of a debate with Republican candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna in June at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane. were being transferred. Inslee said he was following the advice of the state Public Disclosure Commission, which admitted it initially gave bad advice.
McKenna’s record on Sunshine
Of the two, McKenna has the most visible record on disclosure at the state level. The former King County councilman took office as attorney general in January 2005 and, not long after, created the first publicrecords ombudsman’s position at the agency. He asked his new ombudsman to draw up model rules for how agencies should disclose records and to give other guidance to agencies and local governments. McKenna also pushed for and won legislative approval for the Sunshine Committee that reviews and recommends changes to the 300-plus exemptions already in the state Public Records Act. Critic State Sen. Adam Kline, a Seattle Democrat who quit the Sunshine Committee two weeks ago in protest, said the attorney general has used the committee “to pander” to newspaper publishers appointed to the panel, and said the Attorney General’s Office “has taken an extreme role in favor of transparency over privacy.” McKenna backers take a different view. Toby Nixon, president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government and a McKenna supporter, said the key point in having a Sunshine Committee is that exemptions are now getting reviewed in a broader public context – rather than stuck into law where they lurk, blocking public access to records, for years. McKenna also cites numerous legislative accomplishments, among them passage of a law that, he said, corrected a broad exemption in the records act that resulted after a state Supreme Court ruling in a Seattle Monorail case. The corrective legislation bars an agency from rejecting a records request simply because too many records were sought. “I would say I have done more to promote transparency and strengthen state government open records practice than any other official,” McKenna said in
an interview. But McKenna also raised the eyebrows of open-government advocates with a law that lets agencies like the Department of Corrections go to court to block an inmate’s record requests if they are part of a pattern of abuse or harassment. Open government advocates eventually dropped opposition and acknowledged there is a cost factor. But Rowland Thompson of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington warned at the time of a slippery slope that could lead to local governments seeking the same tool to fight against records requests from citizen activists. This year, Thompson said, local governments did just that, seeking to expand the law although they did not succeed.
The Inslee record
Inslee, who resigned his 1st District seat in Congress earlier this year, calls himself an advocate for transparency, too. Inslee has left fewer footprints on the topic in the state than McKenna, but said he voted 18 times to increase transparency, require information be disclosed on lobbyists, and other such laws in the U.S. House. “I have been a vigorous advocate for it at the federal level,” Inslee said. “I voted to put all federal emails in a searchable database. I called for federal contracts to be track-able in a format that explains what the contracts were for. … We’ve increased the disclosure of campaign contributions – for gifts.” As governor, Inslee said he wants to find a stronger way to foster disclosure that does not have as much expense. “I want to look for ways (that) an ombudsman’s role is more effective, which may involve bringing it into the governor’s office,” Inslee said. “I have not concluded that but think it is worthy of consideration.’’ Inslee voted in 2002 for the McCain-Feingold campaign reform law and co-sponsored the more recent DISCLOSE Act reform on campaign donations, the Stealth Lobbyist Disclosure Act of 2007 and the STOCK Act barring insider trading by congressional members and staffers. Inslee’s campaign released
a long list of other legislation that he voted for – everything from a 1994 limit on accepting gifts, which passed the House, to a 2007 bill that strengthened the House member gifts ban and a failed 2011 bill that aimed to publish which members of Congress were in the federalemployee health care plan. He also voted to strengthen whistleblower protections. Leaders of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan advocacy group that monitors Congress for transparency, said their organization looks beyond a lawmaker’s championing of pro-transparency legislation. It wants to see members voluntarily posting their earmarks, personal finances or a calendar listing planned meetings with lobbyists. A recent check of Inslee’s old congressional site, which underwent changes about the time he left Congress, indicated that Inslee didn’t take those extra steps. When asked specifically about why he didn’t post his list of earmark requests, Inslee said he always reported his requests to the House clerk as required.
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Labor’s media muzzles get a mauling Times unveils Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
ews media executives and free press advocates expressed concern June 6 at a House congressional committee regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposal to require journalists to use governmentowned equipment when reporting newly released government job statistics. “Requiring journalists to draft and publish stories using governmentowned computers loaded with government-controlled software simply crosses a line the First Amendment clearly drew to separate the press from the government,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, in testimony. Dalglish spoke at the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing on behalf of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media organizations that advocates for greater government transparency, of which the Reporters Committee is a member. At the hearing, members of Congress raised concerns over the Department of Labor’s proposed policy regarding so-called “lockup” procedures, which traditionally have granted credentialed reporters – working without any outside access or communication – early access to certain job and unemployment information. In the past, journalists have been able to analyze and prepare the data on their own offline equipment until a Labor official flicks a “master switch,” transmitting the reports
through news agencies’ own secure lines. On April 10, Carl Fillichio, senior adviser for communications and public affairs for Labor, issued a new policy, which ordered media organizations to begin using government-owned hardware, software, paper, pens and internet access during the lockup periods, which are held in the department’s Washington, D.C. office. The department did not invite any input from the press when drafting its proposal, which is slated to go into effect on June 15. Fillichio said he revised the lockout procedures because of the department’s growing security concerns. The advanced technology that journalists use to prepare their financial reports can be hard to monitor and Fillichio said he is concerned that reporters can bypass the department’s data embargo on their own equipment. The media representatives who testified told the committee that they are worried about the proposal’s infringement on the freedom of the press, as well as its threat to the media’s ability to report accurately, quickly and securely. “Under the DOL proposal, the government would own and control the reporters’ notebook. This is an unheard of intrusion of government into one of most cherished freedoms,” testified Daniel Moss, executive editor for Economy and International Government at Bloomberg News. Moss said news organizations such as Bloomberg cannot analyze and contextualize statistics without their own newsgathering equip-
ment. Dalglish said she was “bewildered” by the proposed order, adding that it “makes the release of market-moving information less reliable, less secure, more prone to errors and inaccuracies, and less equitable as the information reaches the public.” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) challenged the financial news agencies’ protests to the proposal. “This is about what works for Wall Street,” she said. Since the order was issued in May, media organizations have been in discussion with the DOL in hope of revising it, said Rob Doherty, general manager in the United States for Reuters News. Doherty added that he felt “optimistic” about a compromise, although no agreement has yet been reached. “The department provides press lockups solely for the purpose of serving the general public,” said Fillichio, who added that they “facilitate good journalism and a more enlightened public debate about key economic indicators.” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis declined to testify at the hearing. In a May 8 letter to Solis, SGI Coordinator Rick Blum wrote, “Most immediately, we urge you to delay this policy change and meet with interested media representatives to discuss our concerns.” Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa (R-Calif.) said he agreed with much of the media’s apprehensions regarding the proposed policy. “Undoubtedly, this impending action has serious freedom of the press implications,” said Issa.
new elements for Sunday
avid Boardman, executive editor of the Seattle Times, wrote a full-page illustrated letter in the June 3 issue to announce new elements in the Sunday newspaper. “Our research shows us that even those of you under age 30, who during the week might read us only on your phones, tablets or laptops, also savor the Sunday newspaper experience,” Boardman wrote. “Given that, it’s a centerpiece of our plans to survive and thrive as we forge ahead.” Boardman’s guide highlighted six items: • More watchdog journalism, especially in the Sunday paper • An Around the Sound page with feature photographs and selected community news briefs from the Times’ news partners • Street Style, a local fashion photo feature, and the Works, a package of comics, games and puzzles • A Health & Fitness page with new and continuing columns on exercise, nutrition, alternative medicine and related topics • Monica Guzman, formerly a digitalmedia expert on seattlepi.com, writing on the nexus of culture and technology in the Northwest • A reformatted Pacific NW magazine with new profiles of local people as well as the stories on food, home design, wine, and gardening that readers enjoy.
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Tribune’s informal access test. Requests to view case records were granted immediately. Clerks brought case files for viewing and stood by to make sure no documents were removed. “We try to focus on public service and responsiveness to people,” Ramey said. “The law across the country is pretty clear – that with certain exceptions, it’s a public record, man – it flat-out is.” The News Tribune’s survey sought files tied to criminal misdemeanors – typically drunken-driving charges, a common case category in district and municipal courts. The cases were chosen at random, based on reviews of recent court dockets. Among the 22 courts surveyed, Pierce County District and Tacoma Municipal complied with requests on the spot. Municipal court clerks in Federal Way, Olympia, Gig Harbor, Buckley and Fife also allowed immediate viewing of the records. At Puyallup Municipal Court, administrator Tina Marusich delivered the file personally. The story was different at Fircrest Municipal Court. During a May 1 visit, faced with a request to view a court file, clerks refused. Asked why, they said the case was “ongoing.” The case, researched in advance by the News Tribune, was a fourth-degree assault charge with a tacked-on count of malicious mischief, filed in midJanuary, according to the docket. The defendant was a 29-year-old man, a resident of the town. He’d already appeared in court twice. He’d entered a not-guilty plea on Jan. 25, according to the docket.
Clerks at the counter in Fircrest said the charging statement would not become public until the defendant entered a plea – but he’d already entered a plea. They provided a publicrecords request form and asked for a list of all documents the News Tribune hoped to see – in a file that couldn’t be examined. Clerks said paying for copies was mandatory. They said the request would be forwarded to the town prosecutor, who would respond by mail within five days. Judge Tripp, the Spokane jurist, said the status of a case – open, closed or ongoing – has no bearing on the public’s right of access. “I don’t think that makes a difference,” he said. “Under the rules, if it’s a court file, it’s a court file.” Fircrest officials mailed a response to the News Tribune’s initial request on May 7. The letter said the town prosecutor would review the inquiry and respond by May 24 – more than two weeks away. At that point, the News Tribune called Fircrest court administrator Beverly Olsen and revealed the newspaper’s involvement in the request. Olsen asked the News Tribune to send another records request in writing, and said there would be no charge for viewing. “If in fact we are not following all the disclosure policies, we certainly will,” she said. “No doubt about it. We don’t intend to withhold information. We’re not that type of court.” Two days after that phone conversation, Fircrest officials sent another letter saying the case file was available for viewing.
A handful of municipal courts – Ruston, Roy, Steilacoom and Orting – fell into an in-between category. Clerks provided prompt access to court files, but withheld large portions of the records, citing confidentiality. Some said the records included birth dates and home addresses of defendants, which could not be disclosed. Clerks in other courts gave similar answers. They were mistaken. Certain details in court records, such as Social Security numbers and records of medical treatment, are indeed exempt, according to court rules. Addresses and birth dates of charged defendants are not. At Gig Harbor Municipal Court, a clerk provided immediate access to a court file – another drunken-driving charge – and handled the confidential portion in a simple way. Records of the defendant’s medical treatment (exempt under court rules) were covered with a sheet of paper. The rest of the file was open. Pierce County Superior Court – one level up in the court system – illustrates disclosure on a larger scale. Any citizen can walk into the court clerk’s office in downtown Tacoma, sit down at a computer kiosk and read a full court file, no questions asked. The little courts, especially the smallest of them, lack such resources. Often, they’re one-ortwo-person operations. “It’s just me and the clerk here,” said Maryam Olson, the Yelm administrator. At the tiny municipal court in Wilkeson, which handled 343 cases in 2011, court administrator Shelly Morrow is available on Thursdays – that’s it. When asked to view a court file tied
to a drunken-driving charge, Morrow said she would review the case and mail the documents. Two pages arrived a day later, with the defendant’s birth date and address redacted. At Orting Municipal Court, clerks provided a citation that listed the charge (drunken driving) but nothing else – no records that described the underlying circumstances, no pleadings. They said it was a pending case. The charge, filed in December 2011, was almost five months old. The defendant had entered a plea of not guilty and agreed to various conditions. Clerks said the underlying police report was held by the police department and could not be viewed unless the local judge released it. The News Tribune subsequently spoke to Orting Court Administrator Kaaren Woods, who said police reports tied to charges don’t always appear in court files. She said referring a request to the judge was appropriate. “I don’t believe that we have a dispute that we didn’t provide you access to the documents or the file,” she said. At Lakewood Municipal Court, a clerk at the counter said he’d never heard anyone ask to view a court file. He did not allow access, but he provided a records request form and said the court administrator would have to handle it. The administrator, Deana Wright, later spoke to the News Tribune and said she’d revised the court’s access policy after consulting with legal advisers. “We realize that if somebody does want to view that, we are to provide it,” she said. “It’ll be addressed. We have a weekly staff meeting where we will be
addressing it. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.” Small courts aren’t accustomed to attention. People don’t walk in asking for records every day. When they do, they sometimes run into brick walls. “You’re a little bit like the guy who walks into a strange tavern and every head comes up,” said Rowland Thompson, executive director of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington. “There isn’t a year that goes by that I don’t hear about somebody being denied district court records.” State Court Administrator Jeff Hall said the News Tribune’s findings reveal a need for statewide training in the lower courts. “What this tells me is we need to do some work to understand what is going on, not just in the courts you worked with but statewide,” he said. “See what the issues and patterns of issues are and do some training around this. I’m not necessarily thrilled that you had to go through this process to find this out. These are the kinds of things we want to know, so we can work to address them. It’s good for us to know that we have some work to do here.” Madsen, the chief justice, said remedies could begin with a fresh look at court rules governing access. “That’s where I’d like to start, just to see if there’s anything we need to do to make sure the rules are not in conflict,” she said. “That’s where I’d like to start and where I will start, so we can get to the bottom of this.”
CAREER MOVES n When Linda Lee Dodgson retired from the Prosser Record-Bulletin after 46 years of service this spring, she was honored at an all-day open house at the newspaper office, and celebrated at a staff dinner. A Prosser native, Linda Dodgson Dodgson graduated from Prosser High School in 1964 and attended a year of business college. She was 20 when thenpublisher Rich Gay hired her to lay out pages, and says she learned the business from him. Throughout her career she continued working in page design, transitioning from hot-type machines to Compugraphic phototypesetters and then to computerbased software programs. In her retirement Dodgson plans to continue working part-time at a local tavern, take care of her grandkids and get plenty of sleep. n Hailey Rile has joined the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle as a journalist covering northern Okanogan and Ferry counties. The 21-yearold Rile, who now lives in Tonasket, graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in May with a bachelor of arts in communication, with an emphasis in journalism and a history minor. A Spokane native, she reported for the Liberty Lake Splash and the Herald of Puyallup and served as a digital media intern at KING 5 TV in Seattle. She is interested in cultures other than her own, especially Korean, and studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea, in 2011. Rile said she hopes to one day be an international journalist or work in international relations. n At the News Tribunes, a host of interns are contributing stories for the newspaper and its website. Karen Miller, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, joins the politics and government team. She graduated from Curtis High School and grew up in University Place. Jack Sorenson, incoming editor-inchief of the Mooring Mast at Heather Pacific Lutheran Perry University, joined the Sound Life team. He is from Spokane. Zach Smith of Enumclaw, a student at Central Washington University, is working with the communities team. T.J. Cotterill, a Western Washington University student, is working on the sports team. Heather Perry, also of PLU, is a photo intern shooting mainly sports. She is from Puyallup.
The Olympian and Reeves Middle School teamed up to beautify downtown Olympia.
Steve Bloom/The Olympian
Art in life: Racks paint picture of Northwest The Olympian
new form of artwork has hit the streets of Olympia. Students in the ALKI program at Reeves Middle School painted scenes on seven news racks for the Olympian. The colorful racks were installed along Fourth Avenue downtown. “This is a wonderful public-private partnership,” said Olympian publisher George Le Masurier. “The Olympian and the Olympia School District are working together to make a small piece
of our community more visually attractive. And it’s a wonderful public showcase for local young artists, who can proudly point to their work.” Students created the scenes based on seven Northwest icons: mountains and volcanoes, music, industry and urban life, trees and forests, animals, marine life and – of course – clouds and raindrops. “It’s fun to see the ideas we brainstormed come alive on the news racks,” said eighth-grader Connor Riddle, 14.
The Olympian provided new racks for the project and donated about $500 worth of patio paint, brushes and other supplies to the school, said single-copy area manager Marvin Holder. Besides adding some color to the rather utilitarian-looking metal machines, the artistic scenes could help deter vandalism, he said. “The hope is that there’s going to be more respect,” Holder said. “I recently had a meeting with the City of Olympia concerning graffiti downtown. They
were so taken by this that they want to hop onto this plan.” The Thurston County area has about 500 news racks, Holder noted. If the project is successful, the Olympian might partner with other art classes to design more machines, Le Masurier said. Eighth-grader Kit Hartig, 14, said the painting project has been fun, and she’s excited her class’s artwork will become a permanent fixture downtown. “It’s pretty nice,” she said. “I would say, ‘Don’t destroy it.’”
Olympian announces new Sunday business page
he Olympian announced a new local business page for its Sunday newspaper, the first such page since 2009. The Sunday page offers business profiles, a personal finance column, and a column about local business people on the move. It fills the front of the Sunday classifieds section. In a column May 20, publish-
ON THE WEB
Olympian business blog: www.theolympian.com/ thebusinessblog er George Le Masurier outlined the main features and introduced business reporter Rolf Boone, the primary contributor to the page and the author of the newspaper’s business blog.
A Portland native, Boone graduated from the Evergreen State College. Later, while teaching English in Japan, he did some freelance writing and discovered he had
an interest in writing. Boone returned to the U.S. and worked for nearly four years with the Wenatchee Business Journal before joining the Olympian in 2005.
Inlander reporter earns Mental Health Reporting Award
he Pacific Northwest Inlander staff reporter Leah Sottile received the Washington State 2011-12 Mental Health Reporting Award for “The People Left Behind,” an in-depth exploration of a 13-year-old’s death by suicide and the broader issues of mental health and suicide prevention in Spokane and the Inland Empire. The award was presented at the 2012 Washington Behavioral Health Care Conference June 20 in Yakima. Sottile’s feature article ran March 18, 2012. It tells the story of young Casey Holliday’s life and death, and the need for a community conversation about suicide and prevention. Members and friends of the Washington State Coalition for Mental Health Reporting, who chose the winner
BBJ moves, joins Echo
he Bellingham Business Journal moved in May to an office at 1909 Cornwall Ave., where it is sharing space with the Echo Classifieds. “After over 10 years at our previous location, we look forward to our new address being closer to the downtown core and the increased visibility,” said Tony Bouchard, BBJ business manager. “Sharing the building with the Echo, another Bellingham landmark publication, should lead to a wonderful and prosperous relationship. I look forward to another 20 years.” The Journal is owned by Sound Publishing Inc.
three finalists in an online poll, praised the story for its careful and sensitive handling of Casey’s story and insights Leah Sottile “that go well beyond reporting facts and figures.” Gratified to learn how much the story meant to people throughout the mental health community, Sottile said this story changed her in deep, personal ways. “When I heard about Casey — who jumped from a bridge in the heart of Spokane — I was forever impacted. I wondered what could push a 13-year-old girl to suicide. And when I started trying to answer
ON THE WEB
Mental Health Reporting Award: mentalhealthreporting. org that question, what unfolded before me was this complex social stigma about suicide and mental health, and how this problem — the one no one wants to talk about — was getting bigger and bigger. I knew that if people could see the high suicide numbers I was seeing, and could hear the pain that the Holliday family had endured since the loss of Casey, that perhaps something could change. “Maybe we could get people to start talking — to our children, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers — about suicide.
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And maybe if we did, we could help people like Casey long before they stood on the edge of the bridge. For her sake, I just wish it’s something we could have done sooner.” Three judges chose the finalists from a strong field of stories produced at news organizations across Washington state. The judges were: Cindy Adams, Customer Services Coordinator with Greater Columbia Behavioral Health in Kennewick; Prof. Roger Simpson, who teaches journalism and ethics at University of Washington, and Ann Christian, C.E.O. of the Washington Community Mental Health Council, which co-sponsors the award. Runners-up for this year’s reporting prize were K.C. Mehaffey, for a series of
Wenatchee World articles on suicide culminating in “Three Mothers Share Their Grief” on April 22, 2012, and Lauren Kronebusch for two articles on depression (“Continuing to Cope” and “Self-Help Through Depression”) in the Feb. 28-29, 2012, issues of the UW Daily. The Washington State Coalition to Improve Mental Health Reporting seeks to support journalists’ efforts to report fairly and accurately on mental illness by providing reporting guidelines, sources and factual information. The goal of the annual contest is to reward journalism that improves the public’s understanding of mental illnesses and reflects accurate, in-depth and even-handed reporting. The honor includes a $500 cash award.
Sun, TCH turn to friends when press, equipment fail
he Kitsap Sun in Bremerton and the TriCity Herald in Kennewick have turned for printing help this spring to nearby dailies. At the Sun, failure of a computerized inking system on a Friday night prompted a call to the News Tribune in Tacoma. The Sun and TNT production teams worked together so TNT was able to print the Sun’s May 19 and May 20 weekend newspapers. Most Sun subscribers received their Saturday newspaper later in the day than usual, and a few received it with the Sunday paper. Since the Sun’s press was installed in the early 1970s, it has failed only twice.
At the Tri-City Herald, a combination of hardware and software problems took the press out of commission late on a Saturday night in March. The Yakima Herald-Republic production team printed Kennewick’s Sunday papers, calling people back to work as needed to get the TCH papers printed and bundled. The TCH executive leadership team worked Sunday morning and afternoon, unloading bundles and throwing routes for carriers as needed, so all but a few routes were completed by late afternoon. Reader calls about late delivery completely overwhelmed the TCH phone system, a problem that has since been resolved.
Sad state: Washington ‘digital,’ but an ‘information ghetto’
any Washington state residents have difficulty accessing essential local news and information even though the state is home to some of the world’s leading digital content technology companies, according to a Washington State University study funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “In short, Washington is a digital state with a rural information ghetto,” concluded the report by six WSU researchers from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. It referred to the situation in the State of Washington as an “information enigma.” Google, Yahoo, Amazon, T-Mobile, Facebook and MSNBC all have major operations in Washington. Yet “in huge sections of Washington, citizens have little or no access to news about what is taking place in their own communities,” the study concluded. The report indicated most, but not all, of the underserved areas are rural and lack local news coverage by professional newspaper, radio, and television teams. “The situation is particularly grim in areas populated by minorities and on some of the vast Native American reservations,” the report said. It said use of
ON THE WEB WSU study: bit.ly/KDUWfp
social networking platforms like Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter is lower than many other states and cellular dead zones are common outside major Washington towns. About 3.8 percent of the state has no access to broadband, including 80 percent of Ferry County’s citizens in Northeastern Washington, according to the state Broadband Office. Access to technology is not the only consideration. “In spite of being in the state that is headquarters to Microsoft, creator of Internet Explorer and Bing, rural Washington residents use search engines less than do rural adults throughout the country,” according to study findings by two of the project researchers, Douglas Blanks Hindman and Michael Beam. The enigma’s issues strike at the heart of the democratic process, said Lawrence Pintak, dean of the WSU Murrow College. “They also drill deep into issues of access to health information, to business competitiveness, and the state’s ability to educate its citizens,” he said. WSU’s Washington study is part of a national research
initiative sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of America and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Murrow College joins 11 other journalism schools throughout the nation in the national effort to examine issues identified by the Federal Communication Commission’s report on “Information Needs of Communities.” The deans of the 12 schools are expected to release a joint set of recommendations for implementation of the FCC report. The WSU study team recommends creation of a Washington Rural News Consortium to provide training and partnerships with citizens who can provide news from beyond the current reporting areas of existing news organizations. Funding could come from a combination of community, regional and national foundations, along with news organization partners. It also suggests a Digital Awareness Initiative to brief state legislators and local policymakers and calls for an annual report on the state of high-speed broadband service, health of news media, and news awareness in the state. The state’s media organizations have shrinking and “tightly defined” coverage areas, according to the report. Just 20
Washington towns have daily newspapers, only 23 have radio stations with some form of daily news, and television is clustered in four cities. Weekly newspapers fill in some of the gaps but they are a mix of publications providing substantial local news and others that “are little more than shoppers.” The study report quotes Michael Shepard, vice president of the Seattle Times, stating that Washington has fewer reporters today than it has had in the previous 100 years. Most daily newspapers have reduced the areas covered by professional reporters. Decreasing print revenues have driven down the size of newsroom staff. Outlying bureaus, roving rural reporters and journalists covering state politics are among the casualties, according to the report. For instance, The Spokesman-Review in Spokane once circulated from northern Oregon across Washington and into western Montana. It maintained bureaus in Sandpoint, Idaho, and Pullman, and reporters routinely traveled through remote areas like rural northeastern Washington in pursuit of stories. The WSU project team included Brett Atwood, Clinical Associate Professor, Elizabeth Blanks Hindman, Associate
Professor, and Ben Shors, Clinical Assistant Professor. Some of the findings were based on a symposium held in Pullman earlier this year by the WSU Murrow College. Participants selected for the symposium included newspaper management, representatives of major telecommunications firms, technology industry groups, library officials, a broadband consultant, radio and television managers, government officials, university faculty, and a retired school superintendentturned citizen journalist. The discussion often focused on the “digital divide” that separates state residents who easily utilize digital equipment such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones versus those who have limited use or no access. A one-hour program based on the symposium aired on the stations of Northwest Public Radio in June. Visit NWPR.org for an extended version of the program.
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Adobe’s sixth degree of pagination I
t was with much fanfare that Adobe released the sixth version of Creative Suite. With new versions of InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and more, newspaper designers and publishers are asking, “Is it time to upgrade?” I received my copy of CS6 from Adobe the day it was released and have had a month to play with the new bells and whistles. Since we probably spend more time with InDesign than other applications, let’s begin by taking a look at InDesign CS6. Many of the features might take newspaper designers a while to get used to. Not because they’re hard to Kevin learn, but because they ac- Slimp complish tasks Director, Institute of not available Newspaper before. You Technology might forget about them and keep putting in extra hours to accomplish the same jobs.
The Linked Content feature was introduced in CS5.5, but the user can do even more with it in the latest version. To understand linked content, think of how links normally work. When you place an image on the page, a link is automatically created in the Links Panel. Now, imagine that you’ve created a text block on a page. Perhaps the same text frame will be used in more than one place within a document or in separate documents. Maybe you’re placing a story that will be used in different editions, special sections or other places. Using the Linked Content feature, when changes are made in the original “parent text,” the user can click on the link in the Links Panel and update the parent link so that the text is changed in other instances in the same document and other documents. As you might imagine, this could be very valuable to the designer who is working on multiple versions or zoned editions of a newspaper.
Before “Alternate Layouts,” the user would have had to create separate documents. With Alternate Layouts, these pages can now be created and managed within the same document. The CS6 “Liquid Layout” feature assists users in creating a layout for one purpose, say a newspaper page, then re-purposing it for different devices. In my testing, I created a page for print, then an alternate layout for the Kindle. When I made changes to the original page, I could move over to the Kindle layout and see yellow symbols, letting me know that a change had been made. By updating the link, the change was made for the Kindle as well.
Other new features
There are dozens of other new features in InDesign that might not get the same attention as Liquid Layouts, but will turn out to be quite useful: • PDF Forms: A lot of us create forms that are converted to PDF files for various reasons. Previously, these forms were designed in one application, then interactive elements were added in Acrobat. With InDesign CS6, most PDF items, including text fields, radio buttons, signature fields and more, can be created within the InDesign document. • Fonts List: The InDesign font menu now groups your most recently used fonts at the top. These can be sorted either by recent use or alphabetically. • Text Frames: It’s more efficient to work with text frames in CS6. When placing a text frame with multiple columns, for instance, you can add or remove columns when you resize a frame. Object styles can also be set to apply multiple text frames automatically. • Align to Key Object: You can set any object as a “Key Object” for the purpose of making other objects align to it.
The bottom line
I’ve been using Creative Suite 6 for a month and it’s been a pleasure. I did, however, purchase a new iMac specifically to use with the new software. CS6 seems to run well on my twoyear-old iMac and blazes on the new computer. Whether you’re a Mac or PC
ABOVE: This illustration shows how the upgraded Linked Content feature works in Adobe InDesign CS6. BELOW: With InDesign CS6, the user can collect several items at once, then place them individually using ‘Content Collector’ and ‘Content Place.’ user, you’ll need to have a newer machine to enjoy the enhancements in CS6. My advice? If you’re ready to upgrade your editorial workflow system or just looking for something to improve your design experience at home, InDesign CS6 is a definite “yes!” If, however, you’re not ready to upgrade your hardware and your computer is a few years old, you will want to hold off before purchasing CS6 for your entire staff. And, as always, don’t mix and match versions. When you do decide to upgrade some machines to CS6 in your office, be sure to upgrade all of them.
Creative Suite 6 is not for the faint of heart. System requirements include OS 10.6.8 and higher on the Mac, plus at least 2 GB RAM. PCs require Intel® Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor running Microsoft® Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7, plus at least 2 GB RAM.
Collecting and placing content
This is a handy collection of tools that allows the user to copy and paste several items at one time. It works like “Copy & Paste” on steroids. Let’s say you have a dozen photos on one page. By using the “Content Collector Tool,” you can copy all of the items at once. Then, using the “Content Placer Tool,” you can place them individually as you wish. You’ll like this one.
Alternate layouts / liquid layouts
The ability to add groups of various sizes of pages to an existing document is quite handy. The ability to create one layout, then use that same layout with multiple page sizes, is quite amazing.
InDesign CS6 allows the user to create alternate layouts of the same document. This allows the user to create a print and iPad layout, for instance, without having to create separate documents.
Methadone series wins new honor Seattle Times
eattle Times reporters have been awarded the 2012 Data Journalism Award for their work exposing the state of Washington’s financially motivated practice of sanctioning methadone for people in state-subsidized health care. The award by the Global Editors Network is the first international competition to recognize outstanding work in the growing field of data journalism. The Global Editors Network, meeting at the News World Summit in Paris, announced the winners in each of six categories May 29. In the three-part series, “Methadone and the Politics of Pain,” The Times reported that the poor have been hit hardest by the state’s reliance on methadone. State health officials had disregarded repeated warnings about methadone’s unique risks, saying it was just as safe as any other painkiller. Reporters Michael J. Berens, Ken Armstrong and Justin Mayo gathered and analyzed thousands of state death records, as well as other data, to reveal that Medicaid recipients, which make up about 8 percent of Washington’s adult population, account for 48 percent of the methadone deaths. At least 2,173 people died in Washington state between 2003 and 2011 after accidentally overdosing on methadone, which was one of the state’s two preferred painkillers for Medicaid patients and recipients of workers’ compensation. The judges said the series “combines the best standards of investigative journalism with the application of the finest tools of database journalism. For this story, the reporters went far beyond gathering, cleaning and mapping data. ... The interactive graphics are revealing, simple and easy to use.” Times multimedia producer Danny Gawlowski also contributed to the series. There were more than 300 entries from 60 countries in the six award categories. The Times won for the best local/regional data-driven investigation. The series previously had been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, the Selden Ring Award from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, among others. FIND YOUR 25-HOUR DAY
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Yelm weekly celebrates 90th birthday Mayor, family of founder at open house
Nisqually Valley News, Yelm
ast, present and future collided for two hours May 10, during a 90th anniversary celebration held at the Nisqually Valley News office in Yelm. Among the guests were the children of the newspaper’s founding publisher, Elmer Fristoe, Dorothy Herness, Bob Fristoe and Char Miller. Miller attended with her husband, former NVN publisher and retired Yelm City Council member Don Miller. “The Fristoe family and Miller are a big part of Yelm’s unique and special history,”
said current editor and publisher Keven Graves. “It was an honor to have them all attend Keven the open Graves house. “Dorothy is also turning 90 this year, so that made the milestone extra special,” Graves said. The Lafromboise family purchased the Nisqually Valley News on Jan. 1, 1994. Jenifer Lafromboise is current owner and chairman of the board for Lafromboise Communications Inc. The open house was held in conjunction with the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce After Hours.
As visitors packed the NVN office, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding marveled at the newspaper’s longevity as, arguably, the oldest continuouslyoperated business in Yelm. Harding said the newspaper is rich with history and “I think that’s important to embrace.” The first Nisqually Valley News pretend in February 1922 by Elmer Fristoe and his parter, who sold his share of the business to Fristoe a year later. Harding also spoke of Yelm’s four major fires, most notably in May 1924, that spread in downtown and took out large portions of city businesses, including the NVN. The newspaper rebuilt and opened in November as a renewed sense of pride in the community. The NVN’s first headline after reopening read: “Building Yelm
better than ever.” “I think one of the reasons why our community is successful today is because of that type of forward thinking and mentality,” Harding said. “And that’s emoting the NVN has carried throughout the years.” “Sure, the object of the paper is to report the news … but it’s how (the NVN approaches) it that makes the difference. “It’s that small-town or community feel that goes into the paper that makes it so successful.” NVN Advertising Manager Angie Evans said the open house was a memorable event and a huge success. The staff was on hand to mingle with guests and answer questions about the newspaper.
After four years, student paper ‘back’
New City Collegian goes to press at Seattle Central Seattle Times
nding a four-year absence, a feisty little newspaper written by Seattle Central Community College students returned to print last month, after living only online for the past two years. “WE’RE BACK!” trumpeted the headline on the front page of the New City Collegian. For the first issue, the Collegian staff met outside the college’s Broadway Performance Hall to celebrate the printed paper. Executive editor Sebastian Garrett-Singh beamed as he handed out copies to staffers who had spent many long hours breathing new life into the publication. For now, this edition was a one-time return to print for the independent college newspaper. But Garrett-Singh hopes to print at least once more over the summer quarter, then try to make enough money through advertising and student-activity fees to print biweekly, or even weekly, in the fall. For all the promise of a wired world, it turns out that print still resonates for these college students. Although the Collegian’s blog-style website has attracted about 15,000 page views so far this year, Garrett-Singh said, students still yearned to see their work in print. “Good job, man. So proud. Is it still warm?” asked student Gryphon MacThoy, reaching out to take a copy. MacThoy’s frontpage story was a rant (his word) about college expenditures that seemed wasteful and extravagant in a time of rising tuition rates. “I am really, really happy with this,” said student Liam Wright. “One of the things that’s really been missing on this campus is a real news source.” Wright contributed a story on changes to free-speech rules on campus, and also spent 20 hours working with a design program to turn stories from the Collegian’s blog into a 12-page tabloid.
Alan Berner/Seattle Times
Seattle Central Community College’s newspaper is reborn after a four-year hiatus as the New City Collegian. Executive editor Sebastian Garrett-Singh is in front with Aaron Owen, left, Ken Hamilton (red T-shirt) and Gryphon MacThoy posing in front of graphic of professor Michael Faucette. The college’s official news magazine is the monthly, studentfunded Central Circuit, but New City Collegian staffers say it doesn’t have enough room for all student submissions, and lacks the edgier, more combative voice of the New City Collegian. The newspaper printing was funded by Cupcake Royale, at an undisclosed cost. “It’s old school,” said Jody Hall, owner and founder of the cupcake shop. “Like going back to vinyl. People miss holding a paper.” Hall said she would contribute to a printed version again, although no contract has been worked out. The paper’s predecessor, the City Collegian, had a 40-year publication history. It shut down in November 2008 after a dispute between its staff and the college’s administration. At the time, the college said it had to close the paper because its faculty adviser Jeb Wyman resigned. Wyman said he resigned
because administrators tried to rein in the paper and muzzle free speech. Now, he’s serving as the informal adviser to the New City Collegian. “Mostly, they (students) tell me what they’re writing about, and I might give them advice, like, ‘You really should have a verb in that headline,’ “ he said. “They are young, idealistic and have a real intuitive sense of news value,” he added. He believes the electronic version of the paper did the best job of any news organization in Seattle covering Occupy Seattle’s encampment at SCCC last fall. The printed issue continues that coverage by raising questions about how much the Occupy encampment cost SCCC, with the paper claiming that internal documents showed the price for five weeks of extra security was about $8,000. The administration has said it cost about $10,000 to $20,000 a week.
SCCC President Paul Killpatrick said both the New City Collegian and the Central Circuit offer students opportunities to participate in discourse on a variety of issues. “Certainly, Seattle Central students have historically been very actively engaged in student activities and learning opportunities — and this is a great example of that tradition continuing,” he said by email. Garrett-Singh and the rest of the staff handed out the paper at 10 p.m., a deliberate poke at the administration’s recent decision to prohibit free-speech activities on campus after 10 p.m. Garrett-Singh said the group has formed a “New City Collegian” club on campus and is trying to get official recognition and contributions from the administration to keep printing. In other words, to quote GarrettSingh’s kicker for his front-page story: “We’re back, and we’re not going anywhere.”
After hand-set are hot type, offset and online
he wave of the future carried many a visionary, dare-to-be different publisher into the future. And the innovators left their marks. The linecasting machine supplanted the handset page. The Washington hand-press and its contemporaries disappeared into museums. Radio and television worked their magic. There were the mimeograph, cold type composition and photo-offset reproduction. And desktop publishing via computer. Even the manner in which you received for your newspaper and paid for it was subject to change. And, change still is the name of the game. But, not to slip too far into the past. In the early 1930s the mimeograph was in place, capable of producing newspapers. A wave of the future? Doubters were at hand. In September 1931 The Washington Newspaper expressed its worries this way: “Every so often through the general plan of business life new and additional forms of competition set in and for the time tear down what has been constructed; eat into the advertising budget enough to take off the cream; satiate the ambition of some disgruntled advertiser who has been looking for a chance to get back at the newspaper for some injury, real or imagined. “This competition more recently has taken the form of mimeographed newspapers, usually operating in towns where it is presumed the merchants are sufficient in number to support some kind of a daily newspaper. In each of these towns where the mimeograph paper enters there are a few merchants who show a willingness to squander their money by placing an ad in the new publicity organ. “Quite a number of Washington towns have been affected by the mimeograph, as well as other states. Fortunately for the towns, and to be fair, unfortunately for the mimeograph operator, every town where the mimeograph has started it has not proven to be a success. They have, however, been able to get in for a while and keep going – on what it is difficult to understand. “While the newspaper does not ever so far overstep itself to contend it is the only legitimate medium of advertising, it has been proven without question, that it can best serve its community with news and advertising representation. The local newspaper will continue to hold this position so long as it continues to be progressive, fair, unbiased and shoot straight with all alike.”
all pages. At the time, Sneed was quoted in the July 1958 TWN. “Printing with a central offset press is more advantageous for the small shop. I believe that all small weekly papers in this area will be offset inside of five years if they have access to a press.”
Nettie Watson set type by hand for E. C. Kibbe, publisher of the Elma Chronicle. Daughter of R.M. Watson, the Chronicle’s first editor, Nettie had printers ink on her fingers since childhood and became a very adept typesetter early in life. She is shown here in 1900, toward the end of her typesetting career. Nettie left the newspaper in 1901 to marry Charles Hoffelt. The couple had two children and operated Elma’s first café, located in the Elma Hotel.
which we inserted in the Globe. I found that the process had some big advantages – it was hat printers and editors and publishers have nightmares fast, pictures especially were about happened last Wednesday about 5:10 p.m. when the much cheaper to print. Farm Bureau News (Oak Harbor) was being printed … the front “Then I saw an ad in a trade page fell off the press onto the floor in one jumbled heap of metal. magazine offering a 20x30 The run was about half way through at the time of the accident. Harris for sale for $1,000. Linotype operator re-set every line and the entire crew worked Thought it was a mistake at through until 8 when the run was finished. first, but $1,000 was right. We — The Washington Newspaper, October 1945A bought it, and actually used it for newspaper printing in Two instances of mimeo1949.” graph use were reported in Two events in 1958 provided TWN, January 1932. a great push for the “new wave” “Pasco and Kennewick of cold-type offset publishing have a mimeographed among Washington’s newspaper daily ‘newspaper.’ The executives. Pasco Herald and the February 1958 TWN carried Kennewick Couriera two-page report on Vern Reporter decided Matthews and his success with something had to be done. his offset Quincy Post-Register. Result: Both papers The eye-catcher for many placed on every doorstep was Matthews’ enthusiastic every afternoon except accomplishment of turning a Friday a tabloid size, free $5,100 investment in a newspadistribution newspaper per, cold type and offset equipwell supported by paid with real news and some ment in 1949 into a $25,000 advertising. To the best nice advertising. The business grossing $36,000 a knowledge this is the first regular Friday paper takes year nine years later. all offset newspaper in the the place of the daily on Others who early joined the state.” that day. offset parade were the Othello “Enumclaw Herald Cold-type and offset pioneers Outlook and Franklin County tried this same stunt materialized quickly. And, there Graphic. a year and a half ago. The other 1958 watershed were many. Among them was Result: Mimeo left town, Sim R. Wilson, Jr., co-publisher event was installation and operation of a $100,000 Hess daily became established with his son, Sim R. Wilson III & Barker offset press to create institution.” of the Marysville Globe. a central plant for the Highline In an interview with TWN in After the end of World War Times and White Center News. June 1960, Sim Jr. told of his II, war-inspired technical John Muller, publisher of the pioneering experience. He had progress included offset printTimes; Al Sneed, operator of purchased the Globe in 1944, ing in many newspaper printing the Times, and Jerry Robinson, but previously had put in nine plants. Publishers could brag of publisher of White Center years with George Astel at his new printing services available News, combined forces to form newspapers in Oak Harbor and through an offset press “which Rotary Offset Publishing Inc., Langley. Sim Jr. explained: is capable of producing 7,500 and acquire the press. It was “On the island when I impressions per hour.” installed in the Times’ plant in worked for George I used to The stage was set for the Burien. get circulars from Webendorfer, appearance of the offset Their vision wasn’t always telling of all the things you newspaper. It wasn’t long appreciated. Some contempocould do with offset. It looked until Washington had one, as raries accused them of “having like a good thing to me right announced in the January 1947 more guts than brains.” from the start. TWN. Its size and versatility made “I talked to Pa Kennedy “Coulee City News, about it – he said I’d be crazy to the Hess & Barker a marvel of Volume 1, Number 1, its day in the weekly newspaper go into offset. Said it would be December 6, 1946, is a a whole new trade to learn. But, industry. At 20,000 copies an tabloid, 8 pages, all offset I’m stubborn. hour the press would crank out process. Joe and Virginia “I tried it out first with a a 12-page full-size newspaper Price are the publishers. 10x15 Davidson job press, with color on four pages or an printing a picture supplement, The first number was eight-page section with color on
IT DID HAPPEN
The string of suburban newspapers operated by Robinson and Sneed grew apace, and they kept their big press producing through contract printing of other newspapers, circulars, newspaper inserts and other specials adaptable to a large press. Within nine years Robinson and Sneed were ready for more press capacity, and to get it Rotary Offset purchased both a Goss Urbanite and a Goss Community Press. By 1967 Rotary Offset’s web-offset capability was exceeded in the state only by that of the Yakima daily newspaper. (Editor’s note: The above story ran in June 1987 TWN.)
The industry is still navigating the waves of change brought about by the proliferation of computers and desktop publishing in the 1980s, followed by computer-to-plate printing and in the mid-1990s, the Internet and then cell phones. A column in the December 1996 TWN noted that 15 of WNPA’s 116 members and 11 of the state’s dailies had websites. Newspaper Association of America launched its website awards in 1998, the same year that www.wa.gov/ago/records went live with a guide to the intricacies of the Washington Public Disclosure Act and open meetings law. In February 2000, 26 more WNPA members were online, and today all but half a dozen or so have an online presence. As readers turn to the web for (mostly) free news, information, entertainment and classified ads, print-advertising revenues have plummeted, particularly for large dailies. Another of the many consequences of these technological changes was revealed in a survey of U.S. daily newspapers (25,-200,000 circulation) published in September 2000 TWN. A third of the papers surveyed had changed to narrower-web presses, typically 50-inch, to cut costs by conserving newsprint. In Washington, the Seattle Times and Seattle PostIntelligencer made the change in 2005; the P-I ceased printing in 2009, and continues as seattlepi. com. Today the majority of U.S. newspapers, dailies and nondailies, are printed on 50-inch web presses. Newspapers and other news media companies continue to search for ways to monetize their websites, from online subscriptions and advertising to advising local businesses on web-related opportunities. Experiments with Facebook and Twitter are ongoing, as is the drive to provide content for cell phones, tablets and the latest in new-technology tools.