WNC Awards Three $2,000 Scholarships for 2012

2012 scholarship winners Ilona Idlis and Elizabeth Sharrard

Ilona Idlis, left, winner from the University of Washington; Elizabeth Sharrard, right, winner from Bellarmine Prep, who will attend Seattle University in the fall. WNC Executive Director John Hamer is center. Not pictured is winner Erin Flemming. Photo by Kathy Schrier.

The Washington News Council has awarded three $2,000 scholarships to Washington state students planning careers in communications.

Two Dick Larsen Scholarships, which go to a past graduate of a Washington high school currently enrolled in a public or private college/university in this state:

Erin Flemming, 21, a University of Washington student and graduate of Evergreen High School. Flemming has been on the Dean’s list consistently at the U.W. and has also written for The Daily, The Seattle Times and TVW’s Legislative Review. She is currently interning at The Jordan Times in Amman, Jordan. Her mother attended the reception at the WNC office on July 9 and accepted the scholarship on Erin’s behalf.

Ilona Idlis, 21, a University of Washington student and graduate of Sammamish High School. Idlis has written for the UW’s Election Eye Blog for the Seattle Times, the UW News Lab and The Daily. She is an active member of Young Democrats at the University of Washington and has also been on the Dean’s List. She launched a “Support the Ta-Tas Bra Drive” as part of an annual volunteer mission to donate brassieres to women in Nigeria.

The Herb Robinson Scholarship, which goes to a graduating Washington high-school senior who is entering a public or private college/university in this state:

Elizabeth Sharrard, 17, a graduate of Bellarmine Preparatory School who will enter Seattle University this fall. Sharrard was editor-in-chief of The Lion, Bellarmine’s student newspaper, and formerly its opinions page editor. She was president of Key Club and a top student in several Advance Placement classes. She was an intern at Guadalupe House, a transitional housing home in Tacoma.

The WNC’s scholarship program is open to students with a serious interest in communications – journalism, public relations, politics, or a related field. Awards are based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and the quality of a written essay. This year’s essay topic was: “Journalists expect all institutions and sectors of society to be transparent, accountable and open. Should the same expectations apply to journalists?”

Dick Larsen, who died in April 2001, was one of the most respected political reporters in Washington state. He served for more than 20 years as political writer, editorial columnist and associate editor at The Seattle Times, and later wrote a column for the Eastside Journal. He also worked in politics and public relations, and was an accomplished illustrator/cartoonist.

Herb Robinson, who died in October 2003, was among the state’s most respected print and broadcast journalists. He was editorial-page editor at The Seattle Times for 12 years and a member of the editorial board for more than 20 years. He was previously news director at KOMO-TV, where he started and anchored its first news broadcast program. He began as a copy boy at The Times.

We offer these scholarships to honor the high standards of fairness, accuracy and balance in journalism and communications that Dick and Herb achieved throughout their careers. NOTE: The WNC would especially like to thank Deanie Larsen, Chuck Nordhoff and Sandy Schoolfield for their generous donations to our 2012 scholarship fund.


WNC To Hold Hearing on Vitae Foundation vs. KUOW Complaint

***UPDATE*** we now have the hearing video and full set of documents involved with the complaint as a downloadable PDF. We also have national coverage by The Washington Times and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ombudsman. Plus local coverage in Sound Politics and the Northwest Daily Marker.

The Washington News Council’s Board of Directors has set a date for a hearing on a formal written complaint from the Vitae Foundation against KUOW 94.9 FM concerning a story that aired April 13, 2011.

The hearing will be Saturday, March 31, 2012, from 9 am-noon, at the University of Washington’s Communication Department, Room 120. It is open to the public.

You can download a PDF collection here to read the basic complaint and initial correspondence between Vitae and KUOW.

WNC Hearings Board Chair Karen Seinfeld presiding over the Sue Rahr v. Seattle Post-Intelligencer case

Karen Seinfeld, Chair of the WNC Hearings Board and former Chief Judge of the Washington State Court of Appeals, will preside at the hearing. (UPDATE 3/16/12: Former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander will be presiding in Judge Seinfeld’s place at the hearing.)

The WNC Hearings Board will be comprised of current and former WNC Board Members, including Martin Neeb, Scott Forslund, Shannon Myers, Bill Gates Sr., Steve Boyer, John Knowlton, Erik Lacitis, Charles Rehberg, David Schaefer, Paula Selis, Chris Villiers and Walt Howe.

The WNC recently received two grants from the Gates Foundation and Microsoft for 2012 operating expenses.

To see how a WNC hearing works, here is a link to a video and background information of a 2006 hearing in the Sheriff Sue Rahr vs. Seattle Post-Intelligencer complaint, held at Town Hall Seattle.

(The P-I chose not to participate in the hearing, which is their right as media participation is voluntary. They posted a 17-page written response on their website, much of which was read into the record by Judge Seinfeld at the hearing. Had they attended, they would have had full opportunity to “stand by their stories” in public, respond to questions from the Council, and make their case in an open forum.)

The WNC received the Vitae Foundation’s formal written complaint on June 9, 2011, and the Council’s Board of Directors accepted it for our process after careful review. The WNC’s Board unanimously agreed that the complaint raised “serious questions of journalistic performance or ethics,” which is our main criterion for acceptance. The Board takes no position on the merits of a complaint at that stage, however.

We notified both sides that the complaint had been accepted and began a 30-day resolution period, encouraging both Vitae and KUOW to seek a compromise resolution. WNC convened a meeting on July 14, 2011, at the WNC office with Guy Nelson, News Director of KUOW and Pia de Solenni, representing the Vitae Foundation. The resolution period was extended for another 30 days, and extended again through the end of the calendar year. Both sides were urged to continue seeking a compromise.

Following WNC’s three-part recommendation of a proposed compromise resolution, Guy Nelson did conduct a brief telephone interview with Debbie Stokes (CORRECTION: An earlier version identified her as “Debbie Nelson.” We regret the error.) of the Vitae Foundation on Sept. 30, 2011, and posted the transcript on the station’s website. However, the station did not acknowledge that the original story was incomplete and misleading, as they had conceded privately. Nor did they do an on-air story, which was part of the proposed compromise. Nelson said they would “seriously consider” doing a follow-up on-air story, which was part of our proposed compromise, but set no timetable.

The WNC tried through 2011 to mediate Vitae’s complaint, hoping that a satisfactory compromise resolution could be reached. WNC Board Members believed that a resolution was possible. However, in January 2012 it became clear that resolution was unlikely. More than six months had passed — far exceeding the WNC’s normal 30-day resolution period — and there had been little progress.

Under the WNC’s Complaint and Hearing Procedures guidelines, if the complainant is not “satisfied with the news outlet’s proposed resolution to the complaint,” a hearing date to air the issues is scheduled. Vitae was not satisfied with KUOW’s response and therefore requested a hearing. The WNC’s Board, after careful deliberation, agreed to set a hearing date.

A hearing is not a trial, but an open discussion of journalistic standards, which is healthy and helpful for both sides — and for the general public. WNC has asked both parties to submit final written statements by March 10 that include “any new information obtained or agreements reached during the process of trying to resolve the complaint.”

WNC’s Complaints Committee will phrase questions for the Council to consider at the hearing, identifying “which actions by the news outlet allegedly violated standards of accuracy, fairness and/or journalistic ethics.” Final wording of the questions will be shared with both parties and made public at least 10 days prior to the hearing.

One resource the WNC may use at the hearing is National Public Radio’s newly revised Ethics Handbook, which was just released last week.

WNC’s guidelines also state: “Parties may continue to try to resolve the complaint prior to a hearing, but if they do not reach a resolution before the day of the hearing, the hearing will proceed.” If the complaint is resolved to both KUOW and Vitae’s satisfaction by March 30, the hearing will be cancelled.

For further information about the complaint or questions about WNC’s process, contact:

John Hamer (206.262.9793)
President and Executive Director
Washington News Council
1201 1st Ave. South, #331
Seattle, WA 98134

8:30 a.m. – Doors open to Room 120, U.W. Communications Building, to public and news media. (Open at 8 a.m. to WNC Hearings Board)

9:00 a.m. – WNC President John Hamer welcomes attendees,
makes brief remarks about WNC complaint & hearing process.

9:05 a.m. – Hearings Board Chair Gerry Alexander calls hearing to order, asks all Board members to introduce themselves

9:10 a.m. – Opening Statement (15 minutes) by Vitae Foundation

9:25 a.m. – Opening Statement (15 minutes) by KUOW

9:40 a.m. – Rebuttal Statement (5 minutes) by Vitae Foundation

9:45 a.m. – Rebuttal Statement (5 minutes) by KUOW

9:50-10:30 a.m. – Questions (40 minutes) by WNC Hearings Board

10:30-10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45-11:30 a.m. – Discussion (45 minutes) by WNC Hearings Board members (questions of Vitae and KUOW only to clarify issues)

11:30 a.m. – Chair Alexander asks if either party wants a brief recess to reconsider positions or eliminate questions. If so, action is taken.

11:35 a.m. – Closing Statement (2 minutes) by Vitae Foundation

11:37 a.m. – Closing Statement (2 minutes) by KUOW

11:40 a.m. – WNC Hearings Board votes on written ballots, which are counted by WNC staff. Vote results announced by Chair Alexander.
Hearings Board members confirm their votes by show of hands.

12:00 p.m. – Hearing is adjourned by Chair Alexander.


Reportback – Hacks/Hackers Seattle & Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Challenge

Mozilla is best known for Firefox, the open source darling loved by millions which showed us that a browser is more than just a way to load websites, it’s a way to customize your experience of the web itself. Under new direction from Mark Surman, Mozilla is growing new legs to go beyond Firefox. They recently launched #Drumbeat as an effort to do more than just build portals, they are now seeking to change the flesh and bones of the internet itself to make it more open, accessible, and free (see project examples from drumbeat.org).

It was recently announced that Mozilla received a hefty sum of money from the Knight Foundation to bring journalism along for the ride.

The three year Knight-Mozilla News Challenge dubbed #MoJo (for Mozilla + Journalism) is now in full throttle with five news partners on board (BBC, Al-Jazeera, Boston Globe, Zeit Online, and The Guardian) who will host five fellows with full salary to innovate from inside the newsroom. 10 more fellows will come along the way in the next coming years, but until then, the heat is on and challenge submissions are underway.

Mozilla asked me to link up with the Seattle chapter of Hacks/Hackers, an organization that shares a similar MoJo hybrid theory of bringing together journalists (hacks) + technologists (hackers) with the goal of changing news for the better. One week later we threw together a sold out Brainstorm 2011 that brought in journalists and technologists throughout the city who came to mash up ideas and enter the challenge. [Read more...]


A Seattle Take on Wikileaks

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” saga has definitely shaken up the beehive, instigating a wide range of strong opinions ranging from calls to execute those responsible for treason (Mike Huckabee), to calls to execute cyber attacks against companies who cut ties with the organization (which took place against Visa and MasterCard by hacker group Anonymous).

Seeing that the controversy hit close to home here in Seattle (Amazon dropped hosting of the site and Tableau cut off graphical information) it was appropriate that we came together for a public forum thrown together in record breaking time thanks to the hard work of Hanson Hosein, Director of the Masters of Communication in Digital Media program at the University of Washington.

Hosein moderated a three person panel featuring:

Mike Fancher, Former Executive Editor at The Seattle Times
Brett Horvath, Director of The Leaders Network
Sarah van Gelder, Editor-in-Chief, Yes! Magazine

The energy of the room was lively, with tweets flying in fast, and each pass of the microphone opening up a new can of worms that could merit a forum of its own.

Many angles to the story were discussed; here are some highlights:

The media coverage

  • Is it a distraction to focus on the personality of Julian Assange and the details of the rape charges rather than the disclosures themselves?
  • Horvath asserted that the media are not paying enough attention to important revelations made in the documents such as the Shell’s powerful relationship with the Nigerian government and the U.S. government’s manipulation of Copenhagen climate change talks.
  • Others disagreed, @lizzyleehunter spoke up from the audience to say that rape is a serious charge and Assange shouldn’t be let off the hook. She also wrote on Twitter that “both #Wikileaks and Assange deserve scrutiny–and lots of it.”
  • Van Gelder from @yesmagazine railed against the mainstream media for “taking the kool-aid” and stepping in line with those in power rather than speaking up against abuses. She said the media have so much anger toward Assange, which implied the point that they are lashing out against him because he’s doing the job that they should be doing.

The government’s response

  • Horvath had strong feelings against Joe Lieberman’s actions to go after Wikileaks and companies who have associations with them. He spoke specifically of Lieberman’s remark about investigating the New York Times, saying that “when one Senator can pressure the New York Times and say ‘you can’t do those things’ that’s a real problem.”
  • Brian Rowe, a guest faculty member at the Information School at University of Washington, made a well received comment that highlighted two points on the issue
  1. The government should not throw the baby out with the bath water by passing a USA PATRIOT Act type law to go after Assange.
  2. We should focus on building legal solutions that achieve the goals of transparency, similar to how iTunes managed build a legal alternative to the file sharing of copyrighted music. (here’s a post that mentions Muckrock, an organization trying to do just that using our Freedom of Information Laws)

The debate of government transparency versus secrecy

  • There was definitely some back and forth. Horvath made a point that while he believes in “radical transparency,” that’s different from “insane transparency. ” For example, we shouldn’t share nuclear secrets or post every text message sent by government officials.
  • Van Gelder noted that there is an essential difference between individual rights and government transparency, where government has a great deal of power that individuals don’t have and therefore require greater scrutiny.
  • As could be expected, nobody reached any sort of conclusion on how to strike the right balance. One member of the audience, Brian Sollum (@S8Ronin) was more defensive of the government’s right to keep information secret, speaking from a background as a former Intelligence officer and Assistant Director of the White House Situation Room.

The new age of Journalism and its changing role

  • This is where Fancher’s background served the discussion well. He noted the drastic change from the past, where he used to have the luxury as a newspaper editor to decide when to break a story without people on the internet questioning their integrity and making accusations about how they handled the situation.

The take home message?

I saw one tweet criticizing the panel for being all pro-Wikileaks, which is too easy of a conclusion. One thing I learned from the discussion was that this isn’t a black and white pro/con issue. All three panelists seemed to share similar sympathies toward protecting free speech above concerns of national security, but two of them mentioned that they didn’t necessarily support Wikileaks itself.

I’m sure most people will agree it’s a good thing for us to know via Wikileaks that our tax dollars went to a private security company who “Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops.” At the same time, those same people could easily disagree with Wikileaks’ decision to reveal a list of U.S. Strategic sites, which could be targets of terrorism.

As Horvath pointed out, the ultimate question is who decides?

You can watch the entire event on the MCDM’s Livestream page, or catch the play by play action on twitter here (hashtag #opensecrets).


What I Read: Dave Dederer

Presidents of the United States of America guitarist and singer Dave Dederer isn’t just a musician.

He’s also active in the business world. Dederer develops digital music projects for HP and oversees the Presidents’ business dealings. He calls himself “both a small business owner and a corporate soldier.”

Dederer’s reading list reflects his diverse interests. He’s regularly checking out NPR, local and national newspapers, magazines, tennis web sites, bike blogs, and novels.

So far, he’s still passing on Facebook and Twitter, neither of which he considers real news sources.

Here’s what Dederer told me about what he’s reading.

1. What are your favorite local news outlets? Why?

RIP, my all-time favorite local news source was Emmett Watson’s daily column in The P-I and The Seattle Times, in which he was forever championing his vision for Lesser Seattle.  We could use more Lesser Seattle these days.

I suppose I get most of my local news without realizing it, picking it up mixed in with the NPR programming on KUOW or KPLU.  I listen to the radio in the morning while shaving and such and I guess that’s where I find out about explosions and scandals and other must-know items, whether local or otherwise.

I tend to check in at seattletimes.com once a day to look at local news and local sports.  And I pick up The Stranger and the Seattle Weekly and give them each the three minutes they deserve once a week.  Got to stay au courant, you know.

2. What do you consider “must reads” every day? Must watch? Must hear?

The older I get the less I care about news in general.  If something truly important happens, I figure I’m going to hear about it.

That said, here are some things I look at absolutely every day:

  • nytimes.com‘s’ “most emailed” list — one or more of the articles is always worth reading; this is where I take the pulse of the nation, as it were, and stay up to date on national politics and opinion
  • digitalmusicnews.com‘s daily email newsletter — the most up-to-date oracle for my particular business sector
  • finance.yahoo.com — am I broke yet?
  • tennis.com home page — I took up tennis in earnest two years ago and I’m a pathetic, helpless addict

I end up listening to KUOW or KPLU every day at some point, and usually KING-FM, too, though not much news there, just actual music played by people with actual talent.

I never really thought about it before answering these questions, but I go WAY out of my way to tune into NPR, KBCS and KEXP for certain programs.  I listen to Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion pretty much every week.  I love the funk and old school R&B on KBCS on Friday and Saturday nights, and I also like Tuesday night’s Americana Road Songs show and the transportive Hawaii Radio Connection Saturdays at noon.  My favorite KEXP program is also their longest-running: Saturday’s Positive Vibrations reggae show.

I don’t watch anything on a normal TV because we don’t have a TV.  On a good night, I get to watch All My Children on Hulu with my wife after our kids are asleep.

3. Do you consume news through: print, television, radio, laptop, smart phone, ipad, podcasts, other?


4. Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter for news and information?

No!  “About to board flight to Houston” and “OMG we just ordered 50 shots of Jagermeister” don’t count as news to me.

5. What online news sites or aggregators do you visit regularly?

nytimes.com, seattletimes.com, billboard.biz, tennis.com, cyclingnews.com,

6. Do you regularly visit any individual blogs for news, analysis and opinion?

I’m a bike commuter and I very much enjoy local legend Kent Peterson’s Kent’s Bike Blog: http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/

7. Have your news consumption habits changed in the last few years? If so, how?

I realize in answering these questions that my news reading has gone from nearly 100% print 5-6 years ago to 100% digital today.  I think the only things I still regularly read in print are The Economist, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

8. Do you read for fun? If so, what? Last novel you read? Non-fiction book?

Yes, every day. This just in, kids, reading is FUN!

I read lots and lots of magazines.  More and more I read them or their equivalents online.  Disturbingly, often on my Palm Pre or iPod Touch while sitting in bed.

I just finished reading the galleys for my sister Claire Dederer’s forthcoming book, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, due from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in a couple of months.  It’s a fine memoir — a memoir’s a risky proposition, especially when all the principals are still alive, as they are in this case — and I’m so proud of her.

My undergraduate degree is in American and English Literature.  I read almost nothing but novels from about age 12 until I finished my B.A.at 22.  I don’t believe I’ve read one since.  Wait a second, I take that back — at my mother’s recommendation, I recently read Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, which I very much enjoyed.  But it didn’t make me want to read more novels and, in fact, reminded me in its greatness of just how bad most novels are.

Most of my reading focuses on figuring out how to get really good at whatever sport I’m currently obsessed with and/or how to be less of an asshole.  My recent tennis addiction has me reading and re-reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert, Think To Win by Dr. Allen Fox, Open by Andrew Agassi, Hardcourt Confidential by Patrick McEnroe, etc., etc, etc. ad nauseam, except not to me and I can’t seem to find enough tennis books to feed my appetite.  On the asshole front, I lean toward the Zen approach and I’m currently re-reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth.  Not sure if it’s working, but I keep reading regardless.


Seattle developers release new open source tool to combat ballot fatigue

Image licensed under Creative Commons obtained on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/demibrooke/2550349404/

A recent poll says that WA residents may be experiencing initiative overload. Here are two tools you can use to make better sense of your ballot, considering we have near record number of initiatives printed on it this year.

The first is a new website unveiled this week at Seattle City Club’s recent lunch event. It’s called the Living Voters Guide, and it’s funded by the National Science Foundation. Not only is the idea really cool with an easy to understand layout, it is also a multi-pronged tool that can be used to serve numerous roles.

1. To help educate voters on ballot initiatives, including Pros/Cons (you can fill in and share your own!), as well as your stance compared to others.

2. To grab valuable data on the initiative process itself.

The team behind the Living Voters Guide includes researchers at the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement at the University of Washington. I can’t say for certain what they will do with all this great data they are collecting (not just people’s opinions, but how long they spend forming those opinions) but I’m sure it can potentially reveal some key insights on how functional and democratic the initiative process is, (or perhaps isn’t).

3. To influence voters who would otherwise be undecided, and possibly recruit voters who would otherwise skip the initiative, feeling like they don’t know enough to make an informed decision.

I am also giving bonus thumbs up because The Living Voter Guide is built on an open source platform. Something new called ConsiderIt that apparently enables the creation of crowd interactive pro/con lists.

On top of that, a bonus bonus toes up because they have an easy to understand Privacy and Data collection policy that anonymizes the users IP address and Geolocation (through one way hash tag encryption), thus allowing people to contribute their opinions without worrying about retaliation for saying something controversial.


A second website to try is called BallotPedia.

It’s built with the same exact technology as the ever lovable Wikipedia, and functions just about the same.
Definitely worth an exploration.

Let us know about your experiences with these tools in the comments or over at our Community. I’m anxious to see how they are being adopted.


WNC Awards Two $2,000 Scholarships

The Washington News Council awarded two $2,000 scholarships to students planning careers in communications. The scholarships are named after the late Dick Larsen and Herb Robinson, both longtime editors at The Seattle Times.

WNC President John Hamer, who worked with Larsen and Robinson for many years on The Times’ editorial board, presented the scholarships during a June 24 reception at the WNC office, located above the Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle.

The 2010 WNC Dick Larsen Scholarship winner is:

Peter Sessum, 38, a junior at the University of Washington who is studying journalism. He is a staff writer for The Daily. He was formerly a student at Edmonds Community College and editor-in-chief of the Triton Review campus newspaper.

Before that, Peter was a liaison officer with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and an international advisor in the poppy-eradication program there.

He is a member of the Asian American Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

John Hamer & Pete Sessum

In an essay accompanying his scholarship application, Peter wrote:

“Media is the watchdog of the government, but someone needs to watch the watchdog. That is the purpose of the people. As journalists, we should be transparent, accountable and open. And the people should be able to expect that of us. It is the duty of the reporter to inform the people of the issues at hand. Then, the people can make informed decisions.”

The 2010 Herb Robinson Scholarship winner is:

Alexander Herbig, 18, who is graduating from Mountlake Terrace High School and will attend Seattle Pacific University in the fall. He plans to study communications, global development and psychology.

During high school, Alex was a Young Life leader and camp counselor. His senior project was Simply Haiti, which launched two days before the Haitian earthquake and raised $30,000 for a feeding program and earthquake relief. He also was a photojournalist and editorial writer for The Hawkeye school newspaper, and MVP on the junior varsity soccer team.

Alex Herbig & John Hamer

In an essay accompanying his application, Alex wrote:

“I feel as though trust is a journalist’s best friend. Journalists have the ability to twist a story just about any way they want, making the good guy look like the villain or the other way around. Not only that but their stories can create some serious consequences for the person or company in the story. With this power comes the responsibility of the journalist to be trustworthy.”

Scholarships are funded by donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Since 2000, the WNC has awarded 22 scholarships with a total value of nearly $30,000.

CONTACT: John Hamer, President, WNC – 206.262.9793 (info@wanewscouncil.org)

[Read more...]


Proposed: A “TAO of Journalism” Seal

TAO of Journalism

At the sold-out “Journalism That Matters” event at the University of Washington (Jan. 7-10), over 200 people came together to “Re-imagine News & Community in the Pacific Northwest.”

Mainstream journalists, community journalists, freelancers, bloggers, tweeters, academics, students and other interested parties gathered to confront some pretty tough questions, such as:

Who can be trusted in the “new news ecosystem”? What media sources are reliable, factual and accurate? How have the new media changed the rules of the game? Can the mainstream or “legacy” media survive?

Here’s an idea I floated at the event that I believe could greatly help increase public trust in journalism:

A voluntary “TAO of Journalism Seal — A Commitment to Transparency, Accountability and Openness.” It was designed by Kathy Schrier, my colleague at the Washington News Council. [Read more...]


WNC awards two $2,000 scholarships

The Washington News Council has awarded two $2,000 scholarships to Washington state students planning careers in communications. The scholarships are named after Dick Larsen and Herb Robinson, both former editors at The Seattle Times.

The 2009 WNC Dick Larsen Scholarship winner is:

CHANTAL ANDERSON (left), 20, a senior at the University of Washington who is majoring in journalism and international studies with a minor in Spanish. Chantal was a reporter intern for The Seattle Times in Olympia during the 2009 Legislature. She also is on the staff of The U.W. Daily, and has been a reporter intern for Real Change, a nonprofit weekly newspaper. She is secretary of the U.W. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and also runs a wedding photography business. In an essay accompanying her scholarship application, Chantal wrote:

“The convergence of print and online journalism has redefined the way reporters and readers interpret and define ethics today. The new mantra of newsrooms to churn out stories at high speeds, mixed with emerging professional and personal blogs, has created an upsurge of content on the net. These new forms of media have blurred ethical ideas…. I believe honoring ethical standards has become more challenging for professional journalists in the digital age.”

The 2009 Herb Robinson Scholarship winner is:

SARAH REYES (right), 18, who just graduated from Rogers High School in Spokane and will enter Washington State University in the fall. She plans to study at the Edward R. Murrow College of Journalism. Sarah maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school while taking AP courses in English and history. She was a member of the National Honor Society and a valedictorian. She was also a writer and copy editor for The VOX, a student newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, and worked as an intern at The Spokesman. In an essay accompanying her application, Sarah wrote:

“In today’s world of media and technology, it seems that anyone can get away with saying anything….The First Amendment is something that we as Americans should truly cherish. There are journalists killed around the world for talking about topics that come as second nature to journalists in the United States. We need to use it to our advantage and make sure that it is not abused because nothing is certain and this is a right that might not be around forever.”

Scholarships are funded by donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. Since 2000, the WNC has awarded 20 scholarships with a total value of $25,000.

CONTACT: John Hamer, Executive Director, 206.262.9793 (info@wanewscouncil.org)


New Media and Public Members Join WNC Board of Directors

Three new members were voted onto the WNC Board of Directors at our Annual Board Retreat on July 29, held at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. They are:

Margo Gordon, Public Member, who is returning to the Board after serving from 1998-2004. Margo is former Dean of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She stepped down as dean but continues to teach as a professor at the school. She also has taught journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School.

Jonathan Lawson, Media Member, who is Executive Director of Reclaim the Media and Public Affairs Specialist at the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME. He is also host/producer of a weekly jazz program on KBCS-FM. He is a graduate of Guilford College and Harvard Divinity School.

Martin J. Neeb, Media Member, who is General Manager of KPLU-FM in Tacoma, a position he has held since 1981. He recently announced his retirement, effective in December 2006. He is a founding member of the City Club of Tacoma and has been an officer of West Coast Public Radio and the Arthritis Foundation.

The following two members joined the WNC Board earlier in 2006:

Mike Flynn, Media Member, who recently retired as President and Publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal. He is also on the boards of Junior Achievement of Greater Puget Sound, Downtown Seattle Association, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, and the Harbor Club.

Dr. Eddie Reed, Public Member, who just received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Washington. He was a WNC board member from 1998 to 2004 and served as President of the organization for three years. Dr. Reed is now Instruction Coach and Professional Development Director for the Tukwila School District.

The Board Retreat was a day-long meeting that included welcoming remarks by CWU President Jerilyn McIntyre, and luncheon remarks by Ken Robertson, Editor of the Tri-City Herald. The Council voted to accept the complaint from the King County Sheriff’s Office against the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It heard reports from several task groups and committees. And it watched a videotape of the Minnesota News Council’s hearing in the case of Northwest Airlines vs. WCCO-TV, plus a Mike Wallace “60 Minutes” segment on that case, in which Wallace endorses news councils.

The following officers were re-elected for one-year terms:

President – Stephen Silha (Media Member)

Vice President- Steve Boyer (Public Member)

Vice President – Dave Schaefer (Media Member)

Treasurer – Sandy Schoolfield (Public Member)

Secretary – Suzie Burke (Public Member)