Ever wonder what kind of information the government is required to share with you? And, how the heck do you pry it out of them, anyway?
If you've ever asked those questions, you need to attend the Tour de FOI - a panel discussion to explore the Freedom of Information Act. This free event will be held at Northern Arizona University's School of Communication in Flagstaff, from 10 am to 11:30 am on Saturday, September 29th.
Lauren Millette, a well-known news broadcaster at Prescott's KYCA radio station, is helping to organize the event. "As you know, I am a reporter," Millette said, during a recent Republican Women of Prescott event that she was covering, "and the First Amendment is very important to me. I'm working with the Arizona Press Club's Society of Professional Journalists. This Saturday, we're having a discussion at the Arizona Press Club's annual retreat up in Flagstaff; and I was asked by Mark Scarp from the Scottsdale Tribune to make this announcement at this meeting, public... officials are invited to participate in a Freedom of Information panel discussion, this Saturday, with journalists from across the state."
Among the panelists are Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, Sedona Fire District spokesman Gary Johnson and Millette herself.
"The Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring this discussion to help the public better understand the rights and responsibility to access public information," Millette explained. "You don't have to be a reporter, you don't have to be an elected official, but you have to be interested in what the rights are to access public information... LIke I said, this is open, and what we'd like is to generate some great discussion, regardless of what your views are on this issue."
This is the second stop of the Tour de FOI, in which various cities across the state of Arizona are holding panel discussions amongst journalists, government officials and employees regarding the facts and opinions about the right to access public information.
According to the Arizona Newspapers Association website, the Tour de FOI is actually designed for the general public, "...to acquaint them with two things: (a) their rights to access to government through guarantees of federal and state public records and open meetings laws and (b) present to them the competing interests involved."
Northern Arizona School of Communication - See NAU Campus Map and look for Building 16.
Time: 10 am - 11:30 am (Please try to arrive by 9:30 so the discussion may start promptly.)
Refreshments will follow.
PHOENIX, Sept. 14, 2007 Each person's right to know, called the
"freedom of information," and what forces affect that right will be
debated by a panel of northern Arizona government officials,
journalists and active citizens Saturday, Sept. 29 at Northern Arizona University
This panel discussion is 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.at NAU's School of
Communication. Among at least 10 panelists expected to participate are
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, Coconino National Forest spokeswoman
Raquel Romero and Sedona Fire District spokesman Gary Johnson as well as
Northern Arizona print and broadcast journalists. Admission is free
and refreshments will be served.
The event is the second stop of the "Tour de FOI," in which such
discussions are being held in several Arizona cities to give the public,
journalists and government officials and employees facts and opinions
on the right to access to government information, a vital ingredient in
preserving our liberties in a representative democracy.
The Tour de FOI is sponsored by the First Amendment Coalition of
Arizona, a consortium of the state's news media founded in 1981 that
includes the Arizona Newspapers Association, Arizona Broadcasters
Association, Arizona-New Mexico Cable Communications Association, the Arizona
Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists' Phoenix and
Tucson chapters. It kicks off a fall workshop for journalists at the NAU
School of Communications presented by the Arizona Press Club.
For more information, please contact Mark Scarp, First Amendment
Coalition of Arizona immediate past president, (480) 970-2351 or
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Laura Clymer, Arizona Press Club immediate past
president, (928) 913-8601 or email@example.com.