Melissa Berman is a sophomore broadcast journalism major at the University of Missouri. Melissa reports at KOMU and Missouri Digital News. She is from Wheeling, Ill.
Posted 03/01/2010: I have started to receive responses from different states regarding my honors project. It is interesting to see which states have formal organizations in place and what aspects of reporting at the Capitol the organizations govern. More interesting is the response of states saying there are conservative, private, advocacy "news" organizations seeking resources inside the Capitol. I was able to find one organization that is keeping the administration of its website private. The site it is using to help with confidentiality advertises that 'your information is nobody's business but theirs.' Isn't one of the purposes of news organizations to provide open information to the public? One of the first things I learned in a journalism class at Mizzou was the importance of being transparent as well as independent. If a "news" organization and its reporters are truly independent they should not be hiding where funding comes from. I am excited to hear back from more states and hopefully be able to better look into and understand why new organizations are popping up and looking for press credentials, yet failing to prove independence and transparency.
This was my first week coming to the State Capitol and also the first time I have ever blogged! I admit I was intimidated but excited when I came for my tour. I didn't really know what to expect when I went to my first hearing this afternoon. It went a lot better than I thought it would! I sat in on the Dropout Prevention Task Force committee hearing. The task force was discussing its upcoming report. This is the first time there will be a report in Missouri concering the dropout rate. I think this is extremely important and I am happy that I was able to listen to and report on the creation of the report.