Video coverage of the Idaho legislature, who can record the action, who owns the recording, and preserving the record–often punctuated with jokes and banter–is shaping up as a big issue at the legislature.
Idaho Public Television records all the floor action by the politicos, but they have a deal that calls for the recordings to be deleted after five days.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation, with a reputation for conservative causes has taken it upon itself to preserve those video recordings in perpetuity at its own expense. And that creates the rub.
The legacy media created the “Capitol Correspondents Association” made up of reporters known to many Idahoans–names like Dan Popkey, Betsy Russell,and Greg Hahn. These journalists are often seen on IPTV and are renowned for their coverage and knowledge of the legislature.
The legislature passed a law years ago naming the Capitol Correspendents as the credentialing agency for the sessions, empowering the group to determine who gets press passes–in the form of colored name tags which allow members access to the floor of the house and senate. They have repeatedly refused access to the Idaho Freedom Foundation “reporters,” including exec director Wayne Hoffman, a former reporter who has become a lobbyist opposing the state health exchange and favoring the Luna education reforms among other causes.
Hoffman’s people created their own name tags, angered the Correspondents, and now claim they are doing God’s work preserving the actions of lawmakers on video.
It looks like leaders of both the house and senate don’t trust Hoffman to be the only archivist. They both favor an “official record” to guard against inappropriate or manipulated use of the video for political campaigns, noting recordings were used during the past campaign.
In this age of government transparency, Hoffman’s cause sounds noble.
However, he will need to overcome the “convervative advocate” label and the fear of him holding the only copy of what was said and done at the legislature.
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