Last Wednesday, July 28, KHOI Reporter Laura Belin attempted to attend the press conference held by Governor Reynolds but was denied access by Pat Garret, Communications Director for the Office of the Governor. Belin, who is the author of the blog Bleeding Heartland, showed that she also reports for KHOI and was told Garret would “look into it.” KHOI respectfully requests that Ms. Belin be admitted to news events in order to report for our radio station.
On Friday, an email was sent by the Iowa Capital PressAssociation officers to Pat Garrett, objecting to the exclusion of Laura Belin from the governor’s news conference:
The Iowa Capitol Press Association objects to your exclusion of one of our members, Laura Belin, from the governor’s news conference on July 28.
Belin, as a contractor with KHOI Radio, meets the only written media credential qualifications that exist in state government, created by the Iowa House for the 2020 legislative session. Another journalist and ICPA member who meets this same criteria, Jack Hunt, was credentialed to cover the Legislature in 2020 through a contract with a separate media organization. Further, the governor routinely admits journalists to cover news events outside of the Des Moines area who have never been credentialed by any state entity.
We respectfully request that Belin be admitted to all future news events as a member of the working press. Some representatives of the association would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue."
Iowa Capitol Press Association
Erin Murphy, President
Kathie Obradovich, Vice President
Katarina Sostaric, Secretary
The Iowa Capital Press Association also issued a statement to AP’s Ryan Foley, who reported this incident, relating to a separate public records controversy with the Iowa governor's office.
On Local Talk, Laura Belin explains what happened and the status of what kinds of credentials are needed during this year, adjustments have been made due to the pandemic. Then, Randy Evans, Executive Director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, speaks about how Belin’s exclusion from the press conference is a violation US court decisions ruling that politicians cannot treat reporters differently based on perceived bias. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council helps reporters, government officials, and all citizens with access to legally public documents.
Amy Juhnke, co-chair of Ames Public Library Friends Foundation, announces Pub Fiction, August 12th Ames’ most literary (and nerdy) pub crawl. Crawlers are invited to dress up as their own literary figure favorites as they visit participating bars, who will have their own literary themes as well. Participating businesses will include: Della Viti, Dog EaredBooks, London Underground, Noir, Time Out, Torrent, and Whiskey River. KHOI producer Cynthia McClure and her husband Chris McClure are regulars. On Local Talk, they describe why one should do it, as well as what literary figures they have been and will be when crawling Pub Fiction.