Archive for September, 2019


Oregon governor must ensure next public records advocate has free rein

When Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took office, she pledged to greatly increase government transparency.

And to that end, she created a public records advocate’s position, someone who would be an independent representative of the people in public records matters. In the time she served, Ginger McCall has helped journalists and Oregonians navigate the state’s public records law and obtain the records they requested.

That work not only promoted transparency, but also saved thousands of public dollars that could have been spent in lawsuits forcing compliance with the law.

But apparently McCall’s work was not popular with Brown’s staff. McCall resigned Sept. 9, citing interference from Brown’s staff. Memos from McCall show how the governor’s staff tried to interfere with her work.

SPJ Oregon Territory Chapter has already condemned the interference in McCall’s work and urged Brown to ensure the next advocate is given the free rein the position requires. And I join with them in calling for Brown to ensure the public records advocate is working on behalf of the public and not trying to protect Brown’s image.

EIJ 2019 wrap-up

We concluded an eventful convention in San Antonio Texas.

First, our region’s own Rebecca Tallent, a force of nature in her own right, was one of two recipients of SPJ’s Wells Key, the highest honor the society bestows. She earned it for her work on SPJ’s journalism Education Committee and her Press4Education program, which puts working journalists (including yours, truly) in classrooms to talk about what we do. Along with Becky, SPJ’s Office Manager, Linda Hall, received a Wells Key for her service to the society, particularly this year when there’s been turmoil in the office. As one who’s known Linda for years, she is SPJ’s Rock of Gibraltar.

We also had a regional meeting that was productive. You can watch it on the SPJ Region 10 Facebook page, where it was initially livestreamed and will remain. Our regional conference will be on April 4-5, tentatively in Seattle. If you have programming ideas, let me or Kaitlin Gillespie, Western Washington Pro president know. We also addressed issues we’ve had with communication between me and chapters, and while uncomfortable it was a good discussion. Accountability is a tenet of our ethics code and also part of my personal philosophy. I’ve made mistakes, and I am doing everything I can to rectify it moving forward. If you need to get hold of me, my email address is dmeyers@spj.org, my cell phone number is 509-379-7543 and I am on Twitter @donaldwmeyers, and my account is set up to receive direct messages from people who don’t follow me. (Yes, that’s a bit dangerous, but the benefits of accessibility far outweigh the risk of spam messages in my case.)

I am looking forward to working with you to make this a great year for Region 10.

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