Accomplishments

1998-2010

COMPLAINTS

Received 24 written complaints with following results:

1. Secretary of State Sam Reed vs. KIRO7 Eyewitness News — COMPLAINT UPHELD IN MAY 2009 IN “VIRTUAL HEARING” BY CITIZEN ONLINE NEWS COUNCIL (See our Reed v. KIRO archive for Vote Results and Citizen Comments. KIRO eventually removed two stories from its website without responding to specifics of complaint.)
2. ElderHealth Northwest vs. KOMO4-TV – COMPLAINT RESOLVED after series of meetings between WNC, ElderHealth and KOMO. (Story removed from KOMO website.)
3. King County Sheriff Sue Rahr’s Office vs. Seattle Post-Intelligencer – COMPLAINT UPHELD AT HEARING (On eight of 11 questions at Public Hearing in Seattle on Oct. 21, 2006).
4. Steve Eugster vs. The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review – DENIED (Complainant not named or alluded to in stories.)
5. Joseph de Beauchamp vs. Puget Sound Business Journal – COMPLAINT RESOLVED after story removed from PSBJ website.
6. Three Gold Bar residents vs. www.ittakesgrit.org – DENIED (Not legitimate news site.)
7. Sonya Zalubowski vs. The (Vancouver) Columbian – DENIED (Complaint concerned an editorial opinion column, not factual inaccuracies.)
8. Washington State Beef Commission, Washington Dairy Products Commission, and Midway Meats Inc. vs. KIRO-TV – COMPLAINT UPHELD AT HEARING (On eight of nine questions at Public Hearing in Seattle on June -14, 2003.)
9. Washington Arms Collectors vs. KIRO-TV – DENIED (Complainant not named or alluded to in broadcast.)
10. Heidi Collins vs. The Valley View – DENIED (Complainant not named in story.)
11. Des Moines Chamber of Commerce vs. Highline Times/Des Moines News – COMPLAINT RESOLVED. (News Council successfully mediated compromise between parties.)
12. Soap Lake Resident vs. The Seattle Times – DENIED (Complainant asked to remain anonymous.)
13. Charles Seablom vs. KIRO-TV – DENIED (Complainant not named or alluded to in broadcast.)
14. Richard Benjamin vs. Robinson Newspapers – DENIED (Complaint concerned verbal remark, not published materials.)
15. Joseph Coomer vs. The Seattle Times – DENIED (Complainant not named in stories.)
16. Joseph Coomer vs. Highline Times – DENIED (Complainant not named in stories.)
17. Hubert Locke vs. The Seattle Times – COMPLAINT NOT UPHELD AT HEARING (On three questions at Public Hearing in Seattle, Oct. 13, 2001).
18. Naval Avenue Neighborhood Council vs. The Bremerton Sun – DENIED (Complainants completed complaint forms but did not finish documentation.)
19. Edward Shaffer vs. The Bellingham Herald – COMPLAINT RESOLVED (Complaint withdrawn after WNC contacted newspaper, which ran correction and issued apology to complainant.)
20. Jim Weber vs. The Olympian – DENIED (Complainant did not comply with WNC procedures.)
21. Michael Morgan vs. Seattle Gay News – DENIED (Complaint accepted and hearing scheduled, but cancelled when follow-up story was revealed.)
22. Glenn Ledbetter vs. The Seattle Times – COMPLAINT RESOLVED (After complaint was filed with WNC, newspaper ran follow-up story and letter-to-the editor, so complaint withdrawn.)
23. Mick Sheldon vs. North Kitsap Herald – DENIED (Insufficient grounds)
24. Bernard Friedman vs. The Olympian – COMPLAINT UPHELD AT HEARING (By 9-6 svote of News Council at Public Hearing in Olympia, Feb. 12, 2000.)

NOTE: In addition, the WNC has received about two dozen “inquiries” that did not result in formal complaints. In many cases, we advised potential complainants on how to respond to media organizations concerning inaccurate or unfair stories about them. Inquiries are considered confidential, while formal complaints are made public.

PUBLIC FORUMS

Held 20 public forums with panels of journalists and citizens on media issues:

“War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq,” Richard Engel – June 9, 2008
“The First Amendment: Our Rights At Risk?” John Seigenthaler – April 18, 2008
“An Hour with Don Hewitt of ’60 Minutes,’” – April 1, 2008
“Today’s News: A ‘Webolution’ in Progress” – Sept. 17, 2007
“What Does Freedom of Speech Really Mean for Students?” – Feb. 3, 2007
“Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Coverage of Mayor Jim West” – Feb. 8, 2006
“Consuming News in the Age of Blogs” (with U.W. Evans School) – May 10 & 12, 2005
“Breaking News: The State of Today’s Information Media” (with Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council) – Six-week long series of forums from Feb. 27 to April 2, 2004
“The Media and the War” (with Seattle Media Forum) – April 22, 2003
“Media Coverage of the War on Terrorism” (with World Affairs Council) – Feb. 25, 2002
“The News Media During Wartime” – Oct. 1, 2001
“The Elements of Journalism” (with Bill Kovach & Tom Rosensteil) – July 18, 2001
“News Media Coverage of ‘Fat Tuesday’” – March 20, 2001
“Increasing Minority Access to the New Media” – July 8, 1999
“The News Media and School Violence” – May 13, 1999

NOTE: In addition, the WNC has co-sponsored numerous panels and forums with other groups including CityClub, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington Journalism Education Association, The Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, University of Washington, Washington State University, and other organizations.

STUDENT MOCK HEARINGS

Held 30 student mock news council hearings with journalism classes statewide:

Bainbridge Island High School, 2004
Central Washington University, Ellensburg – 2007, 2006, 2005, 1999
Eastern Washington University, Spokane – 2004
Everett Community College, Everett – 2005, 2004, 2002
Gonzaga University, Spokane – 2005, 2004, 2003
Olympic College, Bremerton — 2009
Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma – 2006, 2000, 1999
Seattle Pacific University, Seattle – 2006
Seattle University, Seattle – 2005, 2002
University of Idaho, Moscow – 2010
University of Washington, Seattle – 2009, 2000
Washington State University, Pullman – 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
Whitworth College, Spokane – 2005, 2004, 2001

GRIDIRON WEST DINNERS

Held 11 successful events to “toast” journalists, politicians and civic leaders:

Sept. 12, 2009 – Suzie Burke
Nov. 9, 2008 – Kemper Freeman Jr.
Nov. 8, 2007 – Bill & Jill Ruckelshaus
Nov. 9, 2006 (Seattle) & Nov. 11, 2006 (Spokane) – Slade Gorton and Tom Foley
Nov. 9, 2005 – Bill Gates Sr. and Mimi Gardner Gates
Nov. 5, 2004 – Gary Locke and Jennifer Dunn
Nov. 7, 2003 – Jim Ellis and John Ellis
Nov. 9, 2002 – Al Rosellini, Dan Evans, John Spellman, Booth Gardner, Mike Lowry
Nov. 11, 2001 – Jean Enersen, Kathi Goertzen and Susan Hutchison
Nov. 11, 2000 – Emmett Watson
Nov. 12, 1999 – Adele Ferguson, Dick Larsen, Mike Layton, Shelby Scates

DICK LARSEN/HERB ROBINSON SCHOLARSHIPS

Raised $30,000 for scholarship fund and awarded scholarships to:

Peter Sessums, University of Washington (2010)
Alexander Herbig, Seattle Pacific University (2010)
Chantal Anderson, University of Washington (2009)
Sarah Reyes, Washington State University (2009)
Maren Anderson, Pacific Lutheran University (2008)
Jennifer Draper, Washington State University (2008)
Olivia Hernandez, Seattle University (2008)
Brittany Lewis, Pacific Lutheran University (2007)
Nicole Peterson, WSU Vancouver (2007)
Kacie McKinney, Western Washington University (2006)
Byron Edelman, Washington State University (2006)
Steffany Bell, University of Washington (2005)
Sara Butler, Eastern Washington University (2005)
Sarah McGuire, Washington State University (2004)
Michelle de Beauchamp, Pacific Lutheran University (2004)
Mary Andom, Western Washington University (2003)
Hazen Hyland, Pacific Lutheran University (2003)
Sarah McGuire, Washington State University (2002)
Steven Friederich, University of Washington (2002)
Chris Chancellor, Washington State University (2001)
Adam Faber, University of Washington (2001)
Cynthia Jones, University of Washington (2000)

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