WNC Elects New President, Vice Presidents; Silha’s op-ed in Christian Science Monitor

Stephen Silha was elected president of the Washington News Council at the WNC’s board meeting on July 23, 2005. Silha, a writer and communications consultant, had been vice president of the council.

The Christian Science Monitor published his op-ed piece, “News councils: a meeting place for communities and their storytellers,” on Aug. 29, 2005. Click HERE:

“News councils provide a nonthreatening, neutral way to explore citizen complaints about media coverage, to examine ethics, and to communicate more clearly about the purpose and techniques of journalism,” Silha wrote. He described the WNC’s Knight Foundation-funded project to create two more news councils in other states (see next item below).

Silha replaces Cyrus Krohn, who stepped down as WNC president when he took a new job at Yahoo! Krohn, who is maintaining his residence in Issaquah, will remain as a media member of the Council.

Steve Boyer and Dave Schaefer were also elected vice presidents of the News Council. Boyer is Senior Vice President of Rockey Hill & Knowlton, and a Public Member of the WNC. Schaefer is Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the Port of Seattle and a Media Member of the WNC.

Sandy Schoolfield is now Treasurer of the WNC and Suzie Burke is Secretary.

The News Council has received other national publicity. Mark Jurkowitz‘s recent piece in the Boston Phoenix

http://www.bostonphoenix.com/medialog_2/ (second item) also described the Knight Foundation grant project.

Both Silha’s and Jurkowitz’s pieces were posted on Jim Romenesko’s widely read national media website.


WNC Members Attend AEJMC Convention in San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 8-13, 2005

WNC President Stephen Silha, WNC Media Member John Irby, and WNC Executive Director John Hamer attended the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, in early August.

They publicized the Knight Foundation grant project to create two more news councils in other states. About 1,500 journalism professors, prominent journalists, graduate students and others attended the convention.

Silha and Hamer participated in a day-long session on “Restoring the Trust — Can Trust and Quality Save Journalism?” Panels of journalists and professors discussed the declining public trust in the news media and how to help restore it. News councils were cited as a way to help.

Hamer staffed a WNC information table in the exhibit area, and talked with dozens of people interested in applying for the Knight grants to start news councils in their states. Journalism schools, media outlets, civic organizations and other interested parties are eligible to apply. Coalitions of these groups are strongly encouraged. People from several states said they “definitely” would apply, while many others expressed serious interest.

Hamer and Silha were invited to help organize a panel on news council’s at next year’s AEJMC convention in San Francisco. They were also asked to write an article for the Media Ethics Division’s next newsletter.