Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists supports the ability of online-based journalists to attend any and all legislative gatherings open to other media. SPJ can see no reason why journalists should be excluded because of how their product is distributed. By barring online reporters, legislators portray themselves as out of touch with the method by which an increasing number of Minnesotans receive their news.
If the Legislature is concerned about the conduct of individual reporters, existing rules and procedures can be utilized. If the problem is one of space, then the criteria for distributing media passes should be equitable for all journalists, not arbitrarily discriminatory based on an outlet’s medium.
The Minnesota Independent quotes House Rules Committee Chair Tony Sertich as saying a rule change to allow online media would open access to anybody. In fact, the change gives open access to everybody, which is the best and most credible means of government accountability in a democracy.
The Minnesota Chapter of SPJ is available to facilitate further discussions or meet with legislators to answer any questions.
Contact: Art Hughes
Minnesota SPJ board member