May 2000

Report on the regional conference

By Donalyn Dela Cruz Chapter Secretary
     The super-regional 2000 conference in Las Vegas not only provided the 
latest in professional development, but it served as a reminder.  
    What made this regional "super" wasn’t so much that it was in the city that
 never sleeps - although for many attendees it was a great attraction - but it
 was a joint-region conference.
    Regions X and XI joined forces to put make this year’s conference 
    It was held March 31-April 2 at the New Orleans Hotel & Casino. 
    During the regional meeting, leaders were reminded how difficult it would 
be to select another conference site.  It seemed no one wanted to host the 
event in the future.  The Hawaii chapter hosted the 1998 regional and is still 
recovering from it.  
    After much discussion, debate and finger-pointing, the Los Angeles 
chapter offered to take charge, with support from other chapters.  Thus, the 
2001 regional conference will be held in LA, where the national convention 
was held in 1999.  
    SPJ President Kyle Niederpreum reaffirmed the efforts of the Strategic 
Planning Committee.  
    The committee was established to improve the service of the 
organization for its members. 
    One of the main concerns discussed was the annual membership dues. A 
future Quill may include a breakdown on how the dues are used in the 
     The hottest panel of the conference was called, "Merging Media: What 
do you do when they come for you?"
     It was a panel put together by Stirling Morita.  He was among the 
panelists to talk about the current  state of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and 
what it means for the employees.  
    Other panelists represented the San Diego Union-Tribune and the San 
Francisco Examiner.  
     Other interesting panels were: The Incredible Shrinking Radio News 
Medium and "Movin’ on up: Climbing journalsm’s management ladder."
     The conference ended with optimism for next year’s conference with the
 hope that all regional chapters will participate in making it worthwhile.  

SPJ awards dinner set for June 17

  Find out who had the best stories in Hawaii in 1999.
  The SPJ-Hawaii Excellence in Journalism Awards 2000 will honor the tops
in radio, television, magazines and newspapers on Saturday, June 17, at 
the Liberty House Special Events Room, Ala Moana Center.
  The dinner starts at 6:30   p.m. with heavy pupu and no-host cocktails. At 
7:30  p.m., the awards program starts. Tickets are $25 for SPJ members, 
$29 for nonmembers, $20 for students. A packet of 10 tickets is $250. There 
will be no reserved seating. 
     Reservations by June 14 to: Lynette Lo Tom Communications 1001 
Bishop St. Pacific Tower, Suite 976 Honolulu 96813 Phone: 524-6441. 


Here are the interns for year 2000

    Six college students will spend their summer working for various media.
    The SPJ-Hawaii 2000 Summer Journalism Internship Winners are:

   -  Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Brett Alexander-Estes, Hawaii Pacific University
    - Honolulu Publishing Co.: Lisa Asato, University of Hawaii at Manoa
    - Trade Publishing Co.: Judith Garma, Hawaii Pacific University
   - KGMB Channel 9 News: Amber Grigsby, Hawaii Pacific University
    - Pacific News Net: Meghann Schroers, Stanford University.
    - Rainbow Pacific Publishing Co.: Jiwon In, University of Illinois at 

Media getting hit with ‘access torts’

   It's not whether you're right or wrong.
   It's how you get your story.
    It's not enough these days just to be accurate in news stories - to keep
away from lawsuits.
   You could wind up in a courtroom because of the way you went about 
getting a story, media attorney Jeff Portnoy says.
   More and more cases are being filed as what he calls "access torts."
   Portnoy told 30 people at the annual installation dinner of the Hawaii 
chapter-SPJ Feb. 25 at Alan T's that this has been a recent trend in media 
    He pointed to the Food Lion case where reporters found out about 
questionable sanitary practices by becoming employees through 
improperly filled out job applications.
   Then, he said, there was the case of a reporter tape-recording candid 
conversations in the office of a psychic hot line. If the reporter had done
the story from what he heard, it would have been OK, Portnoy said.
    One woman in California sued when a video crew was allowed to film 
while in the medical evacuation helicopter as paramedics worked to save 
her life after a traffic accident.
    Courts are getting a lot more of these cases where a person says he or 
she had an expectation of privacy, Portnoy said.
    Hawaii has been spared such cases, but Portnoy warns: They are 
    A radio station has been sued by a police officer who was identified 
during a call-in show about an adopted daughter looking for her real
father, he said. Is the officer entitled to keep such matters private? he 
    The lawsuit is a first of its kind in Hawaii.

Some progress on Legislature openness?

   Veteran political reporters recognize something different in this year’s 
legislative session during conference committee deliberations.
   House and Senate leaders changed the rules to try to open up the 
decision-making in conference committees - long a sore point since the 
state Constitutional Convention passed an openness provision.
   Richard Borreca, the Star-Bulletin Capitol bureau chief, said less important 
bills were decided in the open while the major ones, such as the budget, 
were still deliberated in secret. Also, the public never knew what was in the 
conference drafts approved by conferees until the bills were printed.
   Kevin Dayton, Honolulu Advertiser Capitol bureau chief, said decisions 
and serious negotiations were still done in secret. "The difference was a 
more orderly process of announcing decisions and a more democratic 
process of making decisions."
   Conference committee members had the option of rejecting decisions, 
and it was helpful for reporters to find out how each conferee stood on the 
measures, Dayton said.
   In March, Senate Majority Leader Les Ihara Jr., House Majority Leader Ed 
Case said during an SPJ event that they hoped to open up conference 
committee workings.
   The attorney general's office recently released an opinion backing up a 
1991 opinion by the House majority attorney: Votes by quorums of both 
sides of conference committees should be open.
    At the panel discussion, Jon Van Dyke, constitutional law expert at the 
University of Hawaii law school, said he thought a Republican Party lawsuit 
to require open votes in conference committees would fail because the 
courts generally shy away from telling another branch of the government 
how to operate.
   A judge later dismissed the suit for the same reasons Van Dyke noted.

Brown-bagging it with the governor May 24

   Got something to say to or something to ask Gov. Ben Cayetano?
   If so, come to a brown-bag session with the governor at noon May 24 in the governor's conference room on the fifth floor of the state Capitol.
  The session is on media relations, but other subjects such as the 
legislative session may be brought up.       
   At the last session, the governor complained about coverage by the 
Star-Bulletin. He also said he would take calls from the media to say what 
records he thinks should be open - if the media are so upset with delays 
from the Office of Information Practices.
   The meeting is open to those in the media and SPJ members. It is on the 
record, but hopefully, it'll be informal, and there won't be a news event 
although the chapter doesn't necessarily discourage coverage. For 
information, call board Vice President Bruce Dunford at 528-5409.

FOI safe for another year after legislative session

 Freedom of information didn’t lose anything but it also didn’t get anywhere 
in this legislative session.
   About the only bill that passed was to push back the implementation date
of a law to restrict the kinds of information that can be disclosed by hospitals
from July 1, 2000, to July 1, 2001.
   A measure sponsored by state Sen. Les Ihara Jr. to let voters decide 
whether to create a constitutional right to access of government has been 
   The bill made it out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee but did not 
get a hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee.
   A bill making it a criminal offense to use personal information about a law 
enforcement officer on the Internet to threaten, harass or annoy the officer is
   The Hawaii Information Privacy Act didn’t move. It would have extended 
privacy protections to Hawaii residents on the Internet but also would have 
curtailed use of information from the ‘Net. The news media would have 
been exempt from the bill.
   A Senate bill transferring the Office of Information Practices from the 
executive branch to the legislative branch of government also has been