Amy Gahran of the Poynter Institute floats an interesting idea that I touched on earlier this week.
She cites a Colorado initiative in which the state press association recruited members of the public to request public records in an attempt to highlight how local government treats records requests differently depending on who's asking to see them — the public, or members of the press. This distinction, by the way, is illegal in CO.
"It'sa fascinating project," Gahran writes, "but what caught my attention was that thestate press association played a key role in coordinating the effortsof the papers and volunteers. Makes me think: Maybe this kind ofpro-amateur collaboration is something press associations should bemore involved with. It certainly would spice things up at the meetings!"
I had the same thought at the Vermont Press Assocation annual meeting and awards banquet last Sunday, though I was thinking more in terms of getting bloggers and/or citizen journalist-types into the group as members.
I'm not sure if the VPA would welcome internet-based members — I can't direct you to their membership guidelines, because they don't have a website — but I'd like to see the press having that conversation. I think the folks behind iBrattleboro, for instance, would be good candidates for admission. Of course, they might not be eligible for the awards, since as of now everything is print-based. But that may change over time.
Shouldn't the state's press association take the lead in the discussion about how blogs and citizen journalists fit in the media landscape?