Illinois news media corruption

I hope I get to write this story, completely, someday. But for today, I’m calling out what I know.

Is there corruption at the Illinois Press Association? What president of the Illinois Press Association and multiple newspaper owner refused to run information from BOTH SIDES of an issue when Johnson County voters were getting ready to vote on an important referendum, a referendum where they needed ALL the information, not just one side? He refused to run an ad. He refused to run op eds from a group who had important information to share concerning the upcoming vote. He printed ads and op eds only from the opposing side.

Can you guess how the vote came out? Yep.

Is this what we expect from our local newspapers? Is this what we want? I don’t think so.

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FOIA – Protection for All

I work for a newspaper. A small town newspaper, but a newspaper nonetheless. This week we got a letter from a “Freedom of Information Officer” from one of the small towns in the area. It seems we are “making too many mistakes in reporting the minutes of their meetings.” But no one has ever, not once, called in to tell us that; not one complaint has ever come. We would gladly print a retraction if we are wrong about something. This baffles me. They want the right to preview our reports from now on before we print.

This is a government board. How much would they want retracted from the original report? And who the heck is a “Freedom of Information Officer?” The Freedom of Information Act is there to guarantee that citizens are allowed to see and hear what their government is doing. In another town, they threatened to do all their meetings in executive session, just because we brought a recorder. The recorder is to guarantee we get it right, not to do a “gotcha.”

Imagine if the Federal Government or the State government asked for the right to preview everything that gets printed about them. It would be gridlock!

Like most of what we see in politics these days, someone throws out a vague accusation against another, but never gives the details, and when asked to give one, they usually can’t think of anything. I suspect that may be what this is. Being a newspaper employee, I intend to have them put all those details, list every single error they think we have made, in writing, because if we did make a mistake, we need to correct it, right? This also validates our decision to record the meetings. It’s benefits both of us, media and government. It protects both of us.

More From Jefferson

“The constitutions of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press.” –Thomas Jefferson

I like it…sounds like a place I’d like to live.