FSNE’s letter to Gov. Rick Scott

FSNE’s letter to Gov. Rick Scott

Dear Gov. Rick Scott:

As an organization representing print and digital news organizations around the Sunshine State, The Florida Society of News Editors would like to commend you for reaffirming your commitment to the Office of Open Government, as well as for your efforts to meet with and inform the press.

As president of FSNE, I speak for our board in saying that we would be happy to meet with you at your convenience to discuss capital press corps issues that arose during our recent board meeting in Tallahassee.

To be clear, FSNE supports press freedoms statewide.

As you stated at AP’s Legislative Preview meeting on the 22nd floor of the Capitol, the public has a right to know what its elected officials do. Florida has a long history of such openness, not just with the press but with its citizens. We are proud of that heritage and share your respect for the First Amendment.

FSNE would like to state that it generally, and strongly, opposes pool reporting as a routine method of working with the free press, especially in a period when so much work needs to be done to create jobs. FSNE’s members recognize there
are times when pool reports are needed, such as when there are one or two seats on a plane flying to assess hurricane or oil spill damage.

What FSNE opposes is government selecting who a pool reporter should be. FSNE also opposes reporters being removed from public meetings.

Please let us know if there is a way for FSNE to assist in these early days of your administration by meeting with you and your leadership team to discuss public and press access. By working together we could foster more of a shared spirit of Florida’s open government laws.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Baltzelle
The Florida Society of News Editors