Recent Articles:


April 21, 2011 Procedure No Comments

By: Ashton Skates

“I really don’t care about this.”

If I’m being honest, that was my first thought when we were told that we would be pursuing an Open Records project as part of the Fleischaker-Greene Scholars Program. I failed to see what going through a simple governmental procedure would teach us. I had no idea the direction the project would head.

That was over a month ago. I ceased to feel apathetic toward the open records process when the city government started to make us jump through hoops to exercise our rights as citizens. … Continue Reading


Kentucky New Era vs. City of Hopkinsville

April 21, 2011 Related Cases No Comments

By: Jacqulyn Powell

On September 3, 2009, Kentucky New Era Staff Writer and News Editor Julia Hunter requested to inspect Hopkinsville Police Department open records of arrest citations during an eight month period that related to several criminal cases.

  • The criminal cases were: first degree stalking, harassing communications, harassment, first degree terroristic threatening, second degree terroristic threatening and third degree terroristic threatening.

She also asked to inspect any reports during the same eight month period that didn’t result in arrests but reported any threats made toward an individual or a group of people.

The police department withheld the information Hunter requested and did not do its duty of providing proof in withholding.

  • The police department withheld all records pertaining to an open case or involving a juvenile.
  • They also redacted all dates of birth, phone numbers, addresses, marital statuses, and in some cases even the names of witnesses, suspects, and victims.

Hunter acknowledged the need to redact social security numbers.

But she wrote a letter of appeal concerning the other withholdings, arguing that it is the right of the public “to know about the crimes being committed in the community and how the police department” responded to them.


We’re Not Alone

April 20, 2011 Related Cases No Comments

By: Mitchell Grogg

Kentucky is not the only state where journalists have recently run into challenges in obtaining open records.  Pennsylvania has also experienced such issues.  In doing research for this open records case, this group found another instance in Pennsylvania where open records were difficult to come by.  However, in this instance, conflict did not arise in the process of obtaining the records, but in determining whether the records requested were actually legally publicly accessible.  The case in question is County of York v. Pennsylvania Office of Open Records and and Ted Czech, with information from this post coming from the official court record of the case. … Continue Reading


Living Journalism: An Evening with the Siegenthalers

March 31, 2011 Public Speakers No Comments


By: Kristen Dixon

With the world of technology at our fingertips in today’s age telling stories has taken on many forms. The stories that consume your television or computer screen are the symbols to our First Amendment rights. Two men who exemplify the power of the press are none other than John Seigenthaler and John M. Seigenthaler.

John Seigenthaler founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in 1991, in hopes to keep an open discussion about our rights as well as about the values of the First Amendment nation wide. On top of fighting for our First Amendment rights he continues to serve as the senior advisory trusty for the Freedom Forum. As an award-winning journalist he served on The Tennessean for 43 years and in 1982 he became the founding editorial director for USA Today, which he served for ten years before retiring.

John M. Seigenthaler, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a journalist, has come into contact with some of the worst disasters known to man. Some of the disasters that he had to cover were: the 9/11 attacks, terrorist bombings in Europe and the Middle … Continue Reading


Where to Draw the Line: Your First Amendment Rights

February 9, 2011 Public Speakers No Comments

By: Caitlin Carter

In January, eight School of Journalism and Broadcasting students set out to prepare a project involving the five freedoms outlined in the First Amendment through the Fleischaker-Greene Scholars Program.

Gene Policinski

On Feb. 9, Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, joined the scholars and broadcasting professor Jeanine Howard-Cherry’s Law and Ethics classes to discuss current and past issues surrounding the First Amendment.

In a press conference after his lecture, Policinski, a veteran journalist, said that the First Amendment has remained fairly stable over the years, with most Americans still respecting the amendment as it stands.

“On one hand it’s very solid,” Polickinski said. “We’ve never amended it, we’ve never changed a word in what will soon be 220 years and the basic principles are still admired by most Americans. What worries me is that a lot of well-meaning people would like to create just one exception.” … Continue Reading


Citation Statistics

The above pie charts refer to the combined statistics of the years 2005, 2009, and 2010. The top chart indicates ALL citations given during these years, based on police run reports we received 2-3 weeks before getting the actual records. The bottom chart is the analysis and categorizing of citations received by college age individuals between the ages of 18 and 23. Originally, we asked for 2006, 2007, and 2008 as well so this is only half of what we wanted.

News Channel 12 Reports

Jacqui Powell reported on the project for WKU's campus newscast, News Channel 12. The newscast is aired live at 6pm on Wednesdays and shown again on WKYU at midnight. >