Government Documents or Bust!

The media has a duty to the people of the United States of America to report on its government and government officials. It is the media’s job to inform the general public so that they can make educated decisions on which people we put in office and on topics that are “pressing issues” in today’s society. Most citizens of the U.S. do not realize that developing these stories is one of the hardest tasks to do. In order to be credible, journalists must have documents and hard-hitting facts to support their story. In “Annual Editions: Mass Media- 12/13” article 11, Bill Lambrecht says it best, “Dealing with agencies can be very time-consuming.” In most instances you must put in a request for some kind of document or paperwork. Then you must wait. Wait for an answer or for the papers to come back to you. By the time you get what you need, the developing story is either no longer news worthy or the hype of the story has fizzled out. Government agencies will even go so far as to wait to the very last minute, black things out from the document, and almost try and “bully” journalists into just giving up.

Well, I say it is time someone thinks of something better. As people, we have a freedom of press. That freedom should come with no restrictions to report, and investigate, the very government that decided this freedom. In Florida we are lucky to have “The Sunshine Law.” This law tells us that any meeting held by any governmental agencies must make its meetings notes available for access. This has won a number of court cases, but again there are ways around this. People may use code words, or wait till the last possible minute to release the notes. Don’t get me wrong I think the government our country has is great, but there needs to be a change. As the economy worsens, a team of ten journalists is being cut down to one.  Once where twelve people worked on a story, three do now. The integrity of American journalists isn’t dwindling, but the workload is increasing. This makes their job harder and it easier for government to intimidate them to give up on their endevours.

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