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Learn about public records with SPJ panelists Robert McClure, Melissa Santos, David Kroman and Mike Baker

Washington state Legislature launched such a powerful assault on open records that it won a dishonorable mention in SPJ’s national Black Hole award contest for its outright contempt of the public’s right to know.”

In response, please join the Society of Professional Journalists Western Washington chapter for a panel discussion Thursday, March 29, about the importance of an open and transparent government. The discussion will take place at Hive Media Lab at Seattle Center, 401 Mercer Street. 

Robert McClure of InvestigateWest will moderate the panel that includes Melissa Santos and Mike Baker of The Seattle Times and David Kroman of Crosscut Public Media. BUY TICKETS.

All four of our guests have a strong history of navigating public records systems in the state of Washington:

  • Santos is a veteran Olympia reporter currently serving as an editorial writer for The Seattle Times
  • Baker is an Investigative Reporter at The Seattle Times and 2018 Selden Ring Award recipient for the newspaper’s team project “Quantity of Care”
  • Kroman’s work for Crosscut earned the team the 2018 Seattle Municipal League Award for Government Reporting
  • McClure, the executive director of InvestigateWest, has a long history of public records investigations and was recently a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cascade Public Media, which runs Hive Media Lab, is serving as location sponsor.

Space for this event is limited to 50 people. Tickets are $5. Coffee and tea will be provided for guests.

Can’t attend the event? SPJ Western Washington will be streaming the panel live on Facebook with broadcast support from Hive Media Lab.

Looking back on what happened in Olympia

Washington state lawmakers late last month moved at lightning speed to approve a bill that to exempt themselves from the state’s Public Records Act, shielding their records from the public.

Senate Bill 6617 was passed less than 48 hours after it was introduced, sailing through the Senate without a word of debate (41-7) and hurriedly moved through the House with an 83-14 approval the same day.

Journalists from around the state worked in tandem to oppose the bill, all publishing front page editorials urging Governor Jay Inslee to veto SB6617. Inslee received 19,000 phone calls, e-mails, and letters urging a veto. He ultimately vetoed the bill. 

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