The INDEPENDENT, August 5, 2010 Where to Find Them U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (Dem) 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 585 Portland OR 97232 Phone: 503-326-7525 223 Dirksen Senate Ofc. Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20510-0001 Phone: 202-224-5244 E-Mail: http://wyden.senate.gov/ contact Website: http://wyden.senate. gov U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (Dem.) One World Trade Center 121 SW Salmon St., Suite 1250 Portland, OR 97204 Phone: 503-326-3386 107 Russell Senate Ofc. Bldg. Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-3753 E-Mail: http://merkley.senate. gov/contact WebSite: http://merkley.senate. gov U.S. Representative David Wu (Dem) OR District 1 620 SW Main, Suite 606 Portland, OR 97205 Phone: 503-326-2901 2338 Rayburn House Ofc. Bldg. Washington, DC 20515 Phone: 202-225-0855 Website: http://house.gov/wu Senator Betsy Johnson (Dem) Senate District 16 PO Box R, Scappoose, OR 97056 Phone: 503-543-4046 900 Court St. NE, S-314 Salem, OR 97301 Phone: 503-986-1716 E-mail: sen.betsyjohnson@ state.or.us Website: http//www.leg.state.or. us/johnson Representative Brad Witt (Dem) House District. 31 21740 Lindberg Road, Clatskanie, OR 97016 Phone: 503-728-4664 900 Court St. NE, H-373 Salem, OR 97301 Phone: 503-986-1431 E-mail: email@example.com Website: http//www.leg.state.or. us/witt Representative Deborah Boone (Dem) House District 32 PO Box 926 Cannon Beach, OR 97110 Phone: 503-717-9182 900 Court St. NE, H-375 Salem, OR 97301 Phone: 503-986-1432 E-mail: rep.deborahboone@ state.or.us Website: http//www.leg.state.or. us/boone Page 3 NEWS: Protecting sources means protecting the public Ed. note: Reporters must do a lot of digging in an effort to keep the pub- lic informed. Oftentimes, neither public nor private entities want publicity about certain activities. Big businesses often sue whistleblowers. Gov- ernments have even more clout and reporters must sometimes be willing to go to jail in order to protect their sources. Without people willing to keep the public informed, governments may hide information simply to protect the people involved, not in order to protect the nation. This column ex- plains why a “shield” law is needed. By Kevin Z. Smith President, Society of Professional Journalists During the course of its investigation into the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill, The Associated Press was given information from the then-office of Mineral Management Services that was not making a lot of sense. As millions of gallons of crude spewed into the gulf waters and the oversight by MMS officials on BP’s well was being called into question, an anonymous source in that office told reporters far dif- ferent stories than what they had been initially told. This anony- mous source set the record straight by coming forward and speak- ing out, and suddenly the world knew that this was more than a mechanical failure; it was a full system failure. The people hired to keep these events from occurring were ignoring their responsibil- ities. At times, anonymous sources provide crucial information to the press. Stories of oil disasters may be the latest, but without citi- zens coming forward and sharing vital information, Americans would not know about steroids in sports, excessive military spend- ing, or food and drug hazards. We would never have been told about Watergate. A bill currently in the U.S. Senate will help assure such stories continue to reach the public. S. 448, The Free Flow of Information Act, will protect the sources on whom journalists rely from having their identities exposed in all but a few circumstances including where national security concerns are raised. Five years in the making, the current version of this bill is supported by more than 50 journalism organizations, the White House, the Justice Depart- ment and most of your Congressional delegation. Most states have laws that can protect a source’s identity from overzealous prosecutors and judges, but there is no such protec- tion yet at the federal level. S. 448 would change that and extend the same protections offered through statute or common law in 49 states to the national government. Without it, stories focusing on the federal government will not be told because reporters are faced with threats of jail time and fines if they do not turn on their sources. Subpoenas against the press numbered more than 3,000 na- tionwide in 2006 with 335 issued by federal prosecutors seeking the identities of news sources, according to a survey conducted by a Brigham Young University law professor. More than a few journalists have spent time in jail, and some have been forced out of the profession all together by heavy fines that crippled them fi- nancially. These are all heavy-handed tactics to illicit the names of We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philoso- phies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its peo- ple. — John F. Kennedy In any event, the proper question isn't what a jour- nalist thinks is relevant but what his or her audience thinks is relevant. Denying people information they would find useful because you think they shouldn't find it useful is censorship, not journalism. — Michael Kinsley people who can then be identified and retaliated against. Media companies large and small faced with the enormous expenses of fighting such legal battles to protect sources are turning their backs on compelling stories. As S. 448 awaits permission from key senate leadership to come to the floor for a full vote, all senators, representing the in- terests of American citizens, need to hear from their constituents. Citizens who value the importance of transparency in governance and think the American press needs to continue to serve as the watchdog on the federal government should tell their senators to support this measure. The clock is ticking as Congress will recess in August. Tell your senator to have the bill moved to a full Senate vote as soon as possible and support its passage. Without this bill, stories that affect lives, like the oil spill in the Gulf, will never get the detailed attention they need to bring about change. Without this bill, your government has a better chance of operating in darkness or lying its way out of trouble. Help bring this to an end by voicing support for S. 448. Only when there is a free flow of information from the govern- ment to its people can we truly appreciate the beauty and power of a democracy. Kevin Z. Smith is the 2009-2010 national president of the Society of Professional Journalists. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on SPJ’s work to improve and protect journalism, see www.spj.org. Letters Well-deserved thanks to another volunteer To the Editor: On the 4th of July opening of the “Squeaky Wheels” skate park, the Vernonia Lions Club overlooked thanking one of the most helpful and important people of the building project. The Lions Club would like to give a big “Thank You!!” to Tom Ramsey. Thanks for all your hard work, effort and long hours that you put into the proj- ect. It is very much appreciat- ed. George Tice Vernonia Lions Club Policy on Letters The INDEPENDENT will not publish letters with per- sonal attacks on private citi- zens. Preference will be giv- en to brief letters, 300 words or less. All letters must be signed and include a verifiable ad- dress or phone number. Ike Says From page 2 refuges. Stream temperatures, as many of us have feared, are indeed limiting the production of salmonids in the Nehalem River water shed. It is purely a fluke of nature that we will be able to see ex- tremes of both high and low stream temperatures in back- to-back years (last year, stream temperatures exceeded 80 de- grees locally). The evidence will be compelling regarding what is needed in the Nehalem basin if we are to expand salmonid production and the resulting fisheries. Many of you have probably noticed the northwest winds that have been blowing in July, this also is adding to the good fortunes of the salmon that are in the ocean or about to enter it as smolts. Reports are that there is a good supply of bait- fish and the adult salmon are big and fat. Hope everybody has a safe and fun Jamboree. Don’t forget to bring the kids down to the fishing derby at Lake Vernonia on Friday the 6th. Registration is 4-5 pm and fishing is be- tween 5-6 pm. Lots of prizes too! Izaak Walton League, Nehalem Valley Chapter meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Call 503-429-7193 for location.