Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece (pictured here) has threatened to call out the firefighters to intimidate a political rival and a Cincinnati CityBeat staff writer, the paper's Gregory Flannery reports. "Your Negro Tour Guide" columnist Kathy Y. Wilson has filed a complaint with police about the alleged threat. Editor John Fox says Reece visited him to complain about Wilson's coverage. "She said, 'If you can't control her, I will ... I have 150 firefighters who are willing to do anything I ask them.'"

Continue ReadingVice Mayor Threatens Alt-Weekly Writer

Bowing to reader pressure, Cincinnati CityBeat has resumed printing movie times for two art movie houses after a nearly yearlong standoff with the owner. City Beat's film critic, Steve Ramos, is still banned at the theaters, and the owner, Gary Goldman, still won't allow CityBeat racks in the lobby. Ramos made Goldman mad last June by revealing that Goldman had ordered three XXX seconds of film snipped out of the movie, The Center of the World. "We will not, however, apologize for br eaking the unauthorized editing story last year, nor will we apologize for criticizing Goldman's handling of the situation," Co-Publisher and Editor John Fox writes.

Continue ReadingCityBeat Critic Still Banned at Art Movie House

Pittsburgh City Paper has obtained an injunction ordering the new weekly Pulp not to place its papers in City Paper racks. The judge, however, has told both sides to reach a final agreement on other distribution issues without further rulings from the bench. City Paper Publisher Michael Frischling says he wants Pulp to “make an investment in racks.” Pulp’s Publisher Catherine Nelson, former publisher of In Pittsburgh, says what City Paper is demanding amounts to Pulp not distributing, period.

Continue ReadingPittsburgh City Paper Takes Pulp to Court

In a case against two Connecticut Tribune Co. papers, The Hartford Courant and AAN-member New Haven Advocate, knotty issues of jurisdiction and Web pages are at stake. Editor & Publisher examines the "long-arm statute" case involving coverage of housing Connecticut prisoners in Virginia jails and whether the two papers libeled a Virginia prison warden. AAN is one of more than two dozen newspapers and trade associations signing onto an amicus curiae brief in the case.

Continue ReadingVirginia’s “Long-Arm” Reaching to Connecticut

AAN Attorney Alice Neff Lucan looks at efforts by many state legislatures to roll back Sunshine Laws. Her conclusion is that these laws and legislative efforts are troubling but not yet the end of Freedom of Information as we know it. Her advice: ask who's been requesting government information and being denied, then publish that information. "If you don't tell them about access, how is anyone to know or care?" she asks.

Continue ReadingIs This the Demise of Open Government?

Seven Days has joined a lawsuit over Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's refusal last fall to release his daily schedule. The suit was originally filed by the Rutland Herald/Times Argus. David Rocchio, counsel for the governor, says “legal exceptions” in the state’s public records law exempt the governor’s schedule from disclosure, to protect his security or his ability to obtain frank policy advice. "Baloney," writes Seven Days columnist Peter Freyne. "We say there aren’t any “legal exceptions” in state statute allowing Vermont’s chief executive to operate in such secrecy. It’s against the law."

Continue ReadingSeven Days Joins Suit Over Governor’s Schedule

Four Utah media organizations, including Salt Lake City Weekly, have threatened to sue Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt for his policy of routinely deleting official e-mails, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Media attorneys argue Leavitt is destroying records of "the governmental present and historical past." Managing Editor Chris Smart tells the Tribune, "Those e- mails belong to the taxpayers and the voters. The fact that he has not recognized this is of great concern."

Continue ReadingUtah Media Challenge Governor Over Deleted E-mails

Since Sept. 11, several states have proposed or passed legislation that would weaken Freedom of Information laws. The Society of Professional Journalists has issued an alert to its members and other First Amendment advocates, warning of these threats to the public's right to access government documents. The Freedom Forum offers a round-up of this legislation across the country.

Continue ReadingFirst Amendment Under Attack in Several States

Miami New Times sleuths crack the case of the vanishing alternative newsweeklies. The paper wrote a critical story about Eduardo Padron, president of Miami-Dade Community College, and suddenly reports roll in about empty news racks on all the campuses. A 72-year-old journalism student finally produces a smoking gun: he says he was with a security officer who scooped up the papers. The guard sheepishly admitted Padron had ordered security to confiscate them, the student says.

Continue ReadingMiami New Times Vanishes from College News Racks