The dangers of pack journalism highlighted in ASNE live chat
You win some, you lose some. Last week we reported on a victory in the Chandra Levy murder case. This week we're back in the loss column in the case of McBurney v. Young, which is likely to have more resonance.
You win some, you lose some. Last week we reported on a victory in the Chandra Levy murder case. This week we're back in the loss column in the case of McBurney v. Young, which is likely to have more resonance. In McBurney, ASNE joined 20 other media organizations as amicus supporting a challenge to a provision in the Virginia Freedom of Information statute that prevents non-citizens from filing FOI requests, with exceptions for newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth, and radio and television stations broadcasting into the state. Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower-court ruling that the law does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause or the Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court held that the impact on non-citizens is only incidental or indirect, and that the restriction prevents state officials from being distracted from their required tasks by an overwhelming number of FOIA requests. The court specifically noted that reporters could simply have someone from inside Virginia file a request on their behalf. Sadly, other states may now be emboldened to pass similar restrictions as a result of the McBurney decision.