The Indiana Publisher

July 2023 IP

Hoosier State Press Association - The Indiana Publisher

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Publisher The Indiana Volume 88, Issue 5 • July 2023 Published monthly Mark your calendars: 2023 HSPAConference & Awards Luncheon Oct. 6. Marriott North Hotel, Indianapoils Watch your email. More information will be sent by Aug. 1 and in the August Publisher. Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen In recent years, the Indiana public access counselor had kept a steady pace of posting advisory opinions to its website, reaching as many as 92 in 2021, but by the end of June, the website offered just six decisions for all of 2023. Luke Britt, the Hoosier state's PAC, blamed the slowdown on a change in personnel. The small government agency, he said, had been without a program coordinator since April and no one had been available to go through the process of virtually publishing the decisions issued in response to complaints about public access or open records. A backlog has developed of 54 advisory opinions and 10 informal opinions. Also Britt and his team are working on about another 10 advisory opinions and one informal opinion. "It does take time. It's a little bit tedious," Britt said, explaining the process for posting the issued opinions. "It's just one of those things that we prioritized other things over that." A new program coordinator started June 27 and has been working through the to-be-posted pile. To date, 14 advisory opinions are now available on the counselor's website. Although the opinions have not been put online, Britt said all the complainants and respon- dents have received the decisions completed to date along with any accompanying documents. The office of the Indiana public access counselor was established by statute and charged with giving advice and guidance on issues of open meetings and open records to the general public, government agencies and state officials. According to its annual reports, the PAC receives more than 500 complaints each year. All complaints receive a Staffing change in public access counselor's office creates backlog of open record decisions This summer, Kyle Smedley followed the Madison-Grant High School softball team on its journey to the semistate semifinals. The team's 26-5 season ended with a hard loss and Smedley took his readers all the way through the tough, final post-game huddle with teary-eyed players and a coach determined to steer what he viewed as his 20 other daughters through a good conversation. Smedley, a student at Ball State University, covered the Argylls for The Herald Bulletin in Anderson where he's been serving as one of seven college journalists in this year's Eugene S. Pulliam Intern- ship program. Each year, students from across the state are matched with papers by the HSPA Foundation for a nine-week, paid opportunity through the program named in honor of the late publisher of The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News. Smedley was the news editor at Real world experience See Interns, page 2 Nadia Scharf, Indiana University, Courier Press (Evansville); Kyle Smedley, Ball State University, The Herald Bulletin (Anderson) Nina Thompson, DePauw University, Banner Graphic (Greencastle) Christina Avery, Indiana University, News & Tribune (Jeffersonville); Tori Basile, Indiana University, Indianapolis Star; Grayson Joslin, Ball State University, Courier-Times (New Castle) Ashlyn Myers, Franklin College, Daily Journal (Franklin); 2023 Pulliam interns sharpen reporting skills at newspapers across Indiana See PAC, page 8

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