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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Sunshine Law

Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007, at 8:05 AM

The blogger known as Newscoma, who's a newspaper editor in West Tennessee, has become and online friend; she has a terrific blog post about the recent Sunshine Law debate.


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I am all for the our right to know before anything is voted on, but I know from actual experience that when a reporter is in the room, ideas tend to dwindle.

One of the basic principals on brainstorming for solutions is to throw out ideas without criticism or judgment. Yes, some silly things come out, but pieces of those silly thoughts can often be the key to the solution.

Who will put those ideas out, if they think it will be recorded, published and then critiqued based on the statement out of context?

I have conducted many communication seminars where we quickly saw that the very first time a person tried to say what the other person said, it mutated. Not intentionally, but nonetheless it was different. After the second person it was almost a whole new story and by the seventh, there was no original detail at all.

I have been interviewed for a number of articles over the years and I always cringed to see the way it actually came out in print. Probably the most accurate articles have been right here in the T-G, so maybe times have changed, but if I was a lawmaker, I would probably feel restricted by thinking my every word might be taken out of context.

With that concern, it is hard to get creative comments.

What is the solution? Maybe a moratorium on quoting until the first reading and comment period. Certainly no vote should be taken behind closed doors.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 8:54 AM

I have to agree with parts of the comments above. Sometimes a person has to wonder how one small statement can get so twisted by a well educated reported.

-- Posted by sassy255 on Sun, Dec 30, 2007, at 8:25 PM


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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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