Monday, February 2, 2009

An Oregon blogger struggles to be accepted as "accountable"

This anecdote from the city of Lake Oswego, Oregon, is reported by Kevin Hanson in a Salem Monthly site's story exploring "what constitutes professional journalism and, in Oregon, the task of being a government watchdog."
Late in 2008, the Lake Oswego City Council found themselves in the middle of defining this profession. A blogger, Mark Buntner who publishes under the pseudonym of Torrid Joe at, attempted to sit in on an executive session of the council. Because of Oregon's "sunshine" laws, most executive sessions are open to the media. According to the minutes of the meeting, however, the blogger was asked to leave. Attending the non-public meetings of council members requires what Lake Oswego's City Attorney David Powell calls a "good faith accountability" between a reporter and the city government. But if a blogger is only accountable to themselves, how can it be enforced?

Powell told the Lake Oswego City Council that "they were not trying to define media for First Amendment or legitimacy purposes, but solely for accountability, so that the City had some recourse in the event of a violation of the [executive session] policy."

1 comment:

Bewert said...

I have the same problem here in Bend, OR. I publish the blog and have been pointedly excluded from Executive Sessions.