Spokane visit helps raise WNC profile

The Washington Agriculture & Forestry Education Foundation invited WNC Executive Director John Hamer to speak to its Leadership Program in Spokane in early December. The program brings about two dozen leaders from farming, forestry and other natural-resources professions together for monthly seminars. The December program focused on the news media. The meeting was held in the conference room of the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper.

Hamer showed the group an edited videotape of the News Council’s June 2003 hearing in the complaint against KIRO-TV from the Washington State Beef and Dairy Products Commissions. The group watched the four-part KIRO series and the commissions’ responses, then played the role of the News Council and voted on the complaint. Their voting closely followed the actual News Council’s votes, upholding the complaint almost unanimously on nearly every question.

Hamer and new WNC Media Member Chuck Rehberg, former associate editor of the Spokesman-Review, also conducted a student mock news council hearing at Whitworth College. Students in Journalism Professor Ginny Whitehouse’s class watched the KIRO hearing videotape and voted on the complaint. The students also upheld the complaint almost unanimously on nearly every question.