The Pennsylvania Right to Know Law: Power to the People Symposium

From left to right: Mark Scolforo, Melissa Melewsky, Barry Fox, Eric Ebeling. Photo by Patrick Farabaugh

From left to right: Mark Scolforo, Melissa Melewsky, Barry Fox, Eric Ebeling. Photo by Patrick Farabaugh

Part One:  Introductions, Panel Discussion
Part Two:  Panel Discussion (continued)

A panel of news-media experts reviewed the first year of the 2009 Pennsylvania Right to Know Law during a March 31 public symposium in the Ohio Room of the Hadley Union Building. The evening event was attended by 170 people, mostly IUP students and faculty members.

Panelists included:

  • Eric Ebeling, executive editor, the Indiana Gazette
  • Barry Fox, deputy director, Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, Harrisburg
  • Mark Scolforo, reporter, Associated Press, Harrisburg
  • Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, Harrisburg

IUP journalism professor David Loomis moderated.

Panelists said the new state law had vaulted Pennsylvania from the bottom tier of states with accessible public records to the top. And they warned that legislation already has been introduced in the General Assembly to weaken the provisions of the year-old statute.

“It’s not safe,” Melewsky warned. “It’s under attack.”

Melewsky urged citizens to contact state lawmakers in Harrisburg to urge them to protect the Right to Know Law.

The event was sponsored by the IUP journalism department, the IUP chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Elizabeth Ray Sweeney Trust.

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