We have long been staunch advocates of keeping a bright light on the workings of government. So we are delighted that this General Assembly session counts among its members two journalists who believe the same thing. Both have proposed legislation aimed at supporting and protecting members of the media.
Del. Chris Hurst, a former anchor and reporter for WDBJ in Roanoke, has introduced HB 2392, which would guarantee freedom of expression for student journalists and student-published media at Virginia schools. The bill would safeguard student journalists’ work from unnecessary censorship or retaliation from school administrators. Schools would only be able to interfere if the media content violates federal law, is defamatory, or dangerous.
Del. Danica Roem comes from a newspaper background. She served as the lead reporter of the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times in Prince William County and as the news editor for the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland. Her bill, HB 2250, would prevent journalists from being compelled to disclose protected information.
After her election last November, Roem told journalists in a conference call that she considers herself “the reporters’ liaison in the General Assembly.” She promised that she “will always be a reporter before I’m a politician.” That’s good news for everyone. The two delegates will be holding a joint briefing today at 3:00 p.m. in the House Briefing Room at the Pocahontas Building to discuss their bills. Monday’s forecast is for bright sunshine.