News Industry Luncheon
“STATE OF THE BUSINESS” Report and Outlook
Jim Conaghan, VP Market/Business Analysis & Research, NAA
This luncheon focusrd on trends and indicators on how 2008 will shape up for business and newspapers.
Saturday, February 9, 12:15 to 2 PM
Newsmaker Luncheon with U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wase the keynote speaker for NEPA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show.
Leahy’s speech topic was “The Dimming of the Public’s Right to Know.” He discussed government accountability, the federal Freedom of Information Act, and a federal shield law for reporters that was before Congress for approval.
Leahy is an active advocate of the First Amendment, and has spearheaded legislation toward adoption of a federal shield law, on the Freedom of Information Act, Internet privacy, and the Open Government Act.
On October 4, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Free Flow of Information Act, a bipartisan shield law proposal shepherded by the Leahy through the committee and aimed “to establish a federal qualified reporters’ privilege law to protect and encourage the exchange of information between journalists and confidential sources in defense of the public’s right to know,” according to a statement on Leahy’s Web site.
Leahy also has worked to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act through his sponsorship of the Leahy-Cornyn bill, which gained Senate approval in August as the Open Government Act of 2007. It aims to speed up government responses to Freedom of Information Act requests and to expand access to public documents. Leahy’s previous efforts to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act won him induction into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in a 1996.
Leahy, the son of a printer, “came by his affection for the First Amendment honestly,” Carle said. Leahy’s father founded The Leahy Press Inc., based in Montpelier, Vt., in the 1930s.
Leahy ranks seventh in seniority in the Senate, and much of his congressional efforts have been directed at protecting freedom of speech and maintaining government transparency. He is the second politician to receive the University of Arizona’s John Peter Zenger Freedom of the Press Award, given to him in 1998.