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SPJ to host Ethnic Media Training in Idaho

For Immediate Release

Clint Brewer, President, (615) 301-9229
Alyson Ahrns, Archibald Communications Intern (317) 927-8000, ext. 210

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists, one of the nation’s premier authorities in public access and First amendment issues, will conduct a training program, June 21 for ethnic-media journalists at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The program will explore the ins and outs of Freedom of Information laws — and how to use them in your daily reporting. The session will include a primer on the FOI laws related specifically to your location, as well as guidelines for successful use of the federal FOI law. Participants will see how these laws can be used to create quality journalism, and get some great ideas for producing document-driven stories of their own.

Those in attendance will learn:
• How federal, state and local government documents can enhance reporting for ethnic and community audiences.
• About federal, city, county and state Sunshine laws relevant to the area.
• About the public’s rights to documents and how to ask for them.
• About options for recourse when journalists are denied.
• How journalists can protect their sources.
• How community and ethnic media journalists can collaborate with mainstream partners to do investigative stories (and win awards).

Specifically, this Freedom of Information training program for ethnic media will give reporters and editors more knowledge of public records laws to strengthen their reporting. In addition, the sessions will focus on covering tribal governments including accessing public records on reservations and Native lands.

During the afternoon session, participants will learn why Native journalists are not subject to FOIA laws when covering tribes; but then, neither are other journalists. Why? Native nations are sovereign nations and there are a number of issues about which journalists need to be aware in order to cover tribes. Join Mark Trahant, editorial page editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Gwen Spencer, public relations consultant for the Coeur d'Alene Nation, as they discuss the special issues of information gathering with Native Nations.

In addition to this one-of-a-kind training program, participants will be given a copy of SPJ’s “Open Doors.” This book is your doorway to additional FOI resources that offer more detailed and specific information.

For more information about this program, visit SPJ's Ethnic Media Training page. For more FOI resources, visit SPJ's Freedom of Information page.

Funding for this program is provided by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public foundation organized for the purpose of supporting the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.


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