THE KEYS TO FLORIDAâ€™ S FOURTH ESTATE: UNLOCKING THE SOURCE OF ACCESS EDUCATION IN THE SUNSHINE STATE By SUNNY SKYE HUGHES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORI DA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATIONS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005
Copyright 2005 by Sunny Skye Hughes
To Forrest Kendall and Skyler Rain.
iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS As with any thesis, this document has seen its share of trials and tribulations. The 2004 hurricane season was simply one in a long course of obstacles. I thank Ken for constantly being by my side and listening to my mental gymnastics in deciding a course of action. Much appreciation also goes to John Wright, Sandra Chance, Joe Glover and Bill Chamberlin. I feel grateful for their suppo rt, insight and guidance. I would also like to thank Cher Phillips for her expert techni cal assistance. Finall y, I would like to honor my mom. Although she did not live to s ee me pursue this degree, her constant cheerleading for higher education has ma de quite an impression on me.
v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................4 Florida Sunshine Legislation......................................................................................13 Chapter 286.........................................................................................................13 Chapter 119.........................................................................................................14 Public Opinion............................................................................................................16 3 METHODOLOGY.....................................................................................................17 Research Questions.....................................................................................................17 Sampling Technique...................................................................................................17 Operationalization of Research Variables..................................................................18 Analysis of Research Questions.................................................................................22 4 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................23 Brief Overview...........................................................................................................23 Employment Situation................................................................................................23 Education....................................................................................................................24 Sources of Knowledge................................................................................................26 Formal Education........................................................................................................27 Satisfaction with Formal Education............................................................................28 Professional Training..................................................................................................29 Satisfaction with Pr ofessional Training......................................................................30 Perceived Importance of Journalistsâ€™ Rights..............................................................30 Florida Sunshine Laws...............................................................................................31 Miscellaneous.............................................................................................................32 Information Sources for News Reports......................................................................32 Research Question One...............................................................................................33 Research Question Two..............................................................................................34 Research Question Three............................................................................................36 Research Question Four..............................................................................................37
vi Research Question Five..............................................................................................38 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................39 Employment & Education..........................................................................................41 Sources of Knowledge................................................................................................43 Formal Education........................................................................................................45 Professional Training..................................................................................................46 Journalistsâ€™ Rights......................................................................................................47 Implications................................................................................................................48 Limitations & Future Research...................................................................................50 APPENDIX A STATION LIST..........................................................................................................52 B SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE...................................................................................56 C INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWS DIRECTORS...........................................................61 D INFORMED CONSENT RELEASE.........................................................................62 E ENDORSEMENT FROM SANDRA CHANCE, BRECHNER CENTER...............63 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................67
vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Market size.............................................................................................................. ..23 4-2 Job title................................................................................................................ ......24 4-3 Relevant major course of study.................................................................................25 4-4 Sources of knowledge................................................................................................26 4-5 Sources influencing access knowledge......................................................................27 4-6 Information sources for news reports........................................................................33 4-7 Relationship between level of form al education in lega l rights and level of satisfaction with education.......................................................................................34 4-8 Relationship between level of professi onal job training in lega l rights and level of satisfaction with job training....................................................................................35 4-9 Relationship between perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights and frequency of stories requiring access knowledge..............................................36 4-10 Manager versus employees satisfact ion levels with professional training..............38
viii Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communications THE KEYS TO THE FOURTH ESTATE: UNLOCKING THE SOURCE OF ACCESS EDUCATION IN THE SUNSHINE STATE By Sunny Skye Hughes December 2005 Chair: John W. Wright Major Department: Mass Communication Freedom of the press is a basic American value, albeit one that has a rationale in the role of the press as a government watc hdog. When the press fails to act in its responsibility to inform the public on gove rnment activities, press freedom has the potential to be called into question. Comprehensive government oversight by the journalism profession can be weakened by de ficits in education and training. This study attempts to understand how j ournalists are educated in accessing open government records and meetings. Over 700 surveys were mailed to working broadcast journalists in television news rooms across the state of Flor ida. Eighty-three useable surveys were returned, yielding a respons e rate of 11.9%. The survey instrument measured levels of satisfaction with formal education and professiona l training, as well as other valuable sources of access knowledge. The results suggest that broadcast journalists value the Sunshine Laws as a cr itical component to good journalism, yet they
ix feel that current education and training is inadequate. Where access training and education have been provided, respondents ge nerally report satisfaction with the offering. However, the survey results also indicate that respondents have an overwhelming desire for more formal education and more employe r-sponsored training in the skills necessary to access open government records and meetings . To ensure that journalists continue unimpeded in their role as government watc hdog, these deficiencies in access education must be addressed.
1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Throughout the journalism profession th ere has been a movement away from traditional reporter training. The trend is espe cially true in broadcast television news. Instead of learning the fundamentals of wr iting, investigative research and discovery, students in many college broadcast news pr ograms are focusing on the hands-on elements of the news business. Perfection of on-air de livery is important, but focus on this aspect of journalism should not preclude study and pr ofessional training in more important skills preparation, such as research and story development. Television journalists function in a mark etplace and professional environment, which places an unnatural emphasis on appearan ce and entertainment. The stereotypical notion of a newsroom philosophy is â€œIf it blee ds, it leads.â€ Emphasis on flashy stories has detracted from issue-oriented coverage, wh ich is an important function of the media. The press serves a number of critical roles in a democratic societ y, including informing the public on important events and issues. Knowledge is critical for the public to function in a democracy. As television jour nalism moves away from this responsibility and more towards an info-tainment type of news programming, society suffers as the media fails to adequately perform this important societal role. Working professionals in the media, and for the purposes of this study, television reporters, do not operate in a vacuum. Ability to perform a role is highly dependent on professional preparation through education and vocational traini ng. If this training is not
2 available, or fails to prepare individuals to serve the designated role , then the journalists are doomed to fail in the duty to inform the public. A topic area of major concern to jour nalists and one in which professional preparation is essential is in the area of me dia law, including free dom of the press and access to government records and meetings. Te levision reporters who are not trained, or trained in the wrong manner regarding legal t opics, cannot be expected to be effective journalists. The present st udy is designed to examine whether access law training of television journalists is adequa te. Specifically, this study wi ll attempt to determine the manner in which television journalists obtain information on access, freedom of the press and other legal issues. The study will also a ttempt to determine working professionalsâ€™ opinions about the value of Florida Sunshine laws. Data was collected via a census of worki ng television reporters in the state of Florida. The researcher sought to draw conc lusions regarding whethe r there is a need for additional training for working broa dcast journalists in the state. Journalists are charged with performing an important responsibility in a well functioning democracy. The pre ss must serve the role of in forming the public on critical issues and activities of key gove rnment players and organizations. The ability to perform this role is highly dependent on journalistsâ€™ skills related to inve stigative reporting and enterprising story research. Howe ver, there is a trend in the news media for journalists to rely less on investigative skills. This resu lts in media coverage that lacks an issueoriented focus. The is especially true in broadcast journalism where reporters complain of lack of training and feel ill prepared to fulfill their responsibilitie s to inform the public. Industry professionals claim they lack time a nd money to offer training. Therefore, they
3 must assume new hires are equipped with basic knowledge of investigative skills. Educators point to professionals who deva lue a traditional focus on the history and responsibilities of journalism in favor of more technical a nd vocational capabilities. Currently, it is unclear to what extent working television repo rters are aware of their rights and protec tions under the law or whether they have received adequate training in issues related to media law. By determ ining what journalists know about their legal rights to access information and how they obtai ned this information, this study sheds light on the state of training for working television journalists. Once the amount and source of training for journalists is understood, educators and newsr oom managers can begin to improve training for working reporters.
4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Literature in the field is collected from two themes: The role of the media and journalism education and traini ng. Much has been written on the area of access, but the body of work is relevant only in the sense th at it establishes b ackground in the area in which journalists might be knowledgeable. The media play a vital role in a democr atic society by informing the public so citizens can actively participate in governme nt. The media serve the public by providing access to information, acting as a â€œwatchdogâ€ an d monitoring government officials on the publicâ€™s behalf (Voakes, 2000; Altschull, 1984). This idea is based on the theory of social responsibility and justifies press rights as a means to a fully functioning democratic society (Voakes, 2000; Siebert, 1956). Ameri cans are given freedom to serve a societal purpose (Hindman, 1997). All citizens, not just professional j ournalists, have the freedom to access information about the opera tions of their government in order to participate fully as members of a democracy. Blasiâ€™s analysis of the First Amendmentâ€™s â€œchecking valueâ€ echoes this sentiment that the populous must exercise self-control over government o fficials in order to control scarce channels of information (Blasi, 1977). Blasi also suggests that checking places more of a societal emphasis on informati on than on argumentation (Blasi, 1977). These principles lay the foundation for the idea that the press can monitor official institutional channels for â€œmisuse of government powerâ€ (Blasi, 1977).
5 The press is afforded this and other fr eedoms in order to assist the public in participating in democracy, not as an end in itself (Voakes). These freedoms are not unlimited. Siebert, et al. write that â€œfree dom of expression under social responsibility theory is not an absolute right. Oneâ€™s right to free expression must be balanced against the private rights of others and against vital social interest.â€ (Siebert, 1956) Therefore if the press fails in its duty as the â€œmore alert elementâ€ to keep the public informed, it might be forced to relinquish some of its privilege and freedoms. Although Siebertâ€™s model has been challenge d, this idea of the press serving the public is one basis for laws that ensure jour nalists, and more broadly, the public, access to government records and proceedings (Nerone, 1995). Scholars such as Friedman and Macaulay (1977) argue that access rights are ba sed on an enduring moral principle. The media industry widely accepts the idea that the publicâ€™s â€œright to knowâ€ provides the moral basis for the journalistâ€™s freedom to gather and disseminate information (Gauthier, 1999). The publicâ€™s right to know is an estab lished doctrine stating th at the public legally has a right to know what the government is doing (Cooper, 1942, 1969). In this model, the press is the publicâ€™s unofficially a ppointed representati ve for finding and disseminating information about the activities of the governme nt (Barney, 1987). Barney also argues that the right to know is a basic component of a â€œparticipatory society.â€ Therefore, the press serves a vital role to the public by providing information on the activities of government officials, allowing the public to operate as educated citizens in a democracy. Given the important role of journalism as a profession, the way that the media conduct business is of vital importance to th e functioning of the Am erican system. The
6 media are the most important public institutions in determining the quality of public discourse (Gauthier). Beyond this important function, the media al so serve the purpose of gathering and distributing information th at might otherwise be willfully concealed from the public (Barney). McManus says that th is type of information is most valuable to society, and a passive televisi on news operations risks becomi ng a â€œrepackagerâ€ of news (p. 672). These news operations do not ente rprise stories or i nvestigate government officials, but rather repurpose press releas es and official statem ents without further development of the issue. This trend has been confirmed nationa lly. Altschull (1984) found that national television reporters are highly dependent on news conferences and public relations professionals as sources of information. This passive discovery can lead to manipulation of the press by those in positions of power, rele asing only information that is favorable to that particular entity (Altschul l, 1984). Journalists are ch arged with informing the public and the way they discover information is of utmost importance to newsroom operation. Events that reporters do not learn of cannot be broadcast and often fail to exist in the public eye (McManus). This lowers accountab ility of government officials, who are not held liable for their actions. Journalists se rve the public by informi ng citizens of actions and events they need to be aware of in th e functioning of government . (Kirtley, 2003) If the media is unable or unwilling to inform citizens about government officialsâ€™ actions, the public cannot keep track of their representatives and pa rticipate in the democratic process. A report by the 1947 Hutchins Commissi on said coverage of governmental activities is a vital component of the market place of ideas (The Hu tchins Commission).
7 The citizen is a â€œjudge of public affairsâ€ de pendent on the news media for â€œthe materials of his dutiesâ€ (Bernstein & Lacy, 1992). Citi zens, increasingly, turn to the television medium for news on their national gove rnment. Additionally, a national study by Stempel (1991) found that a majority of the re spondents sought news about their cityâ€™s mayor from television. Indeed, citizens ar e turning to television for coverage of government and public affairs activities on both national and state leve ls. Citizens seek information on these topics in order to be informed and function within their civic responsibilities. Coverage of local government and political issues has suffered due to a shift in the focus of television news and newsgathering pr actices. The first impediment to in-depth local coverage of civic issues is the rise in popularity of sensa tional news (Kalb, 1998). This increase in the amount of sensational ne ws has taken attention away from coverage of issues related to the functioning of local government and politics (Coulson, Riffe, Lacy, St. Cyr, 2001). This trend is rea lly not new. In a 1989 study of two Ohio broadcast television stations, Os troff and Sandell found that the stations did little to cover local or statewide political races. The author s suggest that the desi re for such coverage was eroded by an â€œimposition of entertainm ent values on television journalism.â€ Another, and more substantia l threat to the coverage of local government officials and issues is the manner in which reporters and other broadcast ne ws personnel gather information for story ideas. Similar to nati onal news coverage, in local news there is a trend within the industry to re ly heavily on officially generated information sources such as statements from public officials or press releases from established newsmakers. One study observed a local broadcast news affiliate an d classified its coverage of major stories
8 (McManus, 1990). Only a small fraction of th e stories were found to be â€œenterprised.â€ None of the stories required reporters to develop sources, search documents or attend government meetings. The process of disc overy by the reporters was limited. The reporters interviewed by McManus acknowledge d that relying excl usively on these high level sources created a problem in that the sour ces would be unlikely to direct attention to activities or issues that would cast them or their agency in a negative light. The literature demonstrates that how reporters select news and gather the information for coverage is vital to th e nature of the product produced for public consumption. The sources of information de termine not only what the public receives, but also the image of society that is pres ented (Soloski, 1989). Th e public relies on the media to provide accurate, expository information about society. Through this information, the public is empowered to perf orm its duty as an aware populous. If the media personnel fail to perform their responsibil ities within the syst em, then the freedom of the press is negated. As a result, the news industry then fails to serve the public in the manner designed by the framers of the constituti on, who afforded this right to the media. The challenges faced by journalists and news organizations contribute to the situation that results in limited government coverage. Working professionals can link coverage challenges to two keys areas: education and training. These areas are intrinsically connected to the ability of the media, as a whole, to dutifully inform the public. Coverage of government proceedings and reco rds, in addition to other investigative stories, can be complex and daunting to the untrained reporter. Education and training can reduce this anxiety and empower the jour nalist to make better decisions regarding
9 which issues and stories to cover, investigat e and explore. In th e literature, there is uncertainty as to where, or if this training and education in the area of access is taking place. An even greater concern is if th is training is even desired by newsroom management responsible for hiring decisions. The ability of the news organization to produce a product, in this case information, is dependent on its employeeâ€™s unique skills and abilities (Hollifield, Kosicki, Becker, 2001). These unique talents help to differen tiate a stationâ€™s news product and boost the competitive market edge. Hiring decisions by news executives actually reflect the values of the news organizationâ€™s culture, and to a larger degree the valu es of the journalistic professional culture (Hollifie ld et al., 2001). Trade public ations write about working broadcast journalists who feel unequipped to navigate through the murky waters of government meetings and records access. This would indicate that management is then hiring employees deficient in this skill. It would then stand to reason there is a tendency to reduce the importance and valu e of in-depth reporting within the industry. Yet, certain recent studies continue to indicate that mana gers desire employees with college degrees and the ability to perform in-depth reporting (Hollifield et al.). News executives might seek these kinds of hires, but in all like lihood, a well-qualified, well-trained rookie is increasingly more difficult to find. A study in 2000 found a growing need for newsroom training and development for reporters (Garrison, 2000). J ournalists are looking for the information on how to increase access skills and awareness. Another st udy, this one funded by the Knight Foundation, found that lack of training is the number one source of job dissatisfaction among U.S. journalist, ahead of pay and benefits concer ns (Princeton Survey Research Associates,
10 2002). News managers rate their organiza tions favorably in training, but employees responding in this study paint a di fferent picture. One third of the surveyed journalists report they are dissatisfied with opportuniti es for training and development (Princeton Survey). The news executiv es, who rated their organizatio ns favorably, responded to the survey by acknowledging that employees desi red more training than the organization could provide. In fact the gap between supply and demand seemed largest in the area of coverage that is most criti cal in informing citizens on the actions of their local government: local television coverage (Princ eton Survey). Rosalind Stark of the Radio Television News Director Foundation says trai ning could revive the declining perceived quality of local news by the public. The trend in general newsroom training app ears to indicate that news organizations, involved in the knowledge business, ironically seem to lag behind other industries in providing workers with new knowledge a nd skills through professional training (Princeton Survey, 2002). The Knight Study indi cates that training in beat coverage and legal issues takes place only a few times a y ear, at most, due to budget constraints. News organizations are strained fina ncially and working journalists complain that they are not trained on the job to perform critical duties such as government coverage. This would indicate that journalis ts must rely on their formal e ducation for knowledge of coverage tactics in governmental areas . Yet managers complain th at new journalists are less knowledgeable about public affairs than th eir elder cohorts (Hickey, 1999). This is confirmed by college journalism graduates responding to a Bullard and McLeary study, who report they are unequipped to repor t on governmental affairs or cut through government â€œred tapeâ€ (Dickson & Brandon, 2000).
11 Professional journalists have long criticized journalism educators for not adequately preparing students for jobs in the media (Highton, Dickson et al.). Broadcasters, facing time and budget constraints, are unable to educate their workers in critical areas such as access. They then tu rn the blame to educators and complain that graduates need better-developed professional sk ills prior to graduation (Hollifield et al.). Some have gone as far as to suggest that journalism schools might fall victim to â€œacademic Darwinismâ€ if they continue on thei r set path (Aldridge, 1992). Organizations of professional journalists complain that br oadcast education does not provide practical knowledge for the real world (Dickson & Bra ndon). Arguably the blame could still lie partially with the professionals. Research s hows that media professionals have a strong influence on journalism educat ion and career preparation thr ough dialogue with educators (Hollifield et al.). The complaints against journalism edu cation are sometimes contradictory and a study confirms this finding, revealing the chie f complaints to be that journalism schools 1) teach too much theory, and 2) do not teac h enough practice, yet 3) are too vocational (Dennis, Dickson & Brandon). Critics of e ducators call for less â€œcl assical training,â€ yet complain of too much technical input. It leaves the question of what the journalism programs are actually supposed to teach. There seems to be no clear-cut definition or accepted method for educating journalists. Ther e is no industry standard to ensure that each graduate and new workforce entry has a standard education to ensure job success. Less than half of new journalists say they fe lt prepared during their first year on the job (Medsger 1996; Dickson & Brandon).
12 There are very few reliable avenues for jour nalists seeking educa tion in the area of access. The Society of Professional Journa lists offers a Freedom of Information handbook that covers access at th e national level (Society of Professional Journalists). This guide provides an overview of federa l information coverage and confirms the importance of FOI coverage in daily newscasts . SPJ highlights this guide as serving its core mission: â€œJournalists should recognize a general obligation to ensure that the publicâ€™s business is conducte d in the open and that govern ment records are open to inspection. The news media are one of the foremost agents for government openness in American societyâ€ (Society of Professional Journalists). SPJ conducted a study to show how often media use public access information in its day-to-day news coverage. Television br oadcasters used public records for about a fifth of their stories. Public records of court proceedings ac counted for 8% of stories, yet public meeting attendance accounted for only 2% of stories. Helen Thomas of Hearst Newspapers summarizes the problem, with her statement about the ne cessity of the Open Doors guide: â€œExperience has taught us that op en government is a â€˜use it or lose itâ€™ proposition.â€ (Society of Professional Journalists) J ournalists are using access capabilities infrequently and it appears th at opportunities for access training are inconsistent. Executives seek new hires with quality e ducations because they cannot afford to extensively train employees. Industry profe ssionals criticize educators for failing to adequately prepare students. Industry or ganizations can provide guides for working journalists, but these handbooks can only skim the surface and never completely explore local civic coverage issues. This creates an interesting question: How and where are
13 journalists educated and trai ned to perform their job dutie s? In particular, how are journalist trained to perform their professional responsibility of monitoring government to educate the public of the actions of its appointed officials. Florida Sunshine Legislation The state of Florida has a rich histor y of promoting the publics right to access open government meetings and records. Th e â€œPublic Records Law,â€ Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes was originally enacted in 1909. In 1967, Floridaâ€™s Government in the Sunshine Law was enacted to establis h public access rights to open government meetings. Today this law is known as Chapte r 286 of the Florida statutes. Together, Chapter 119 and Chapter 286 form the foundation for open government in the state of Florida. Chapter 286 Public Business is addressed in Chapte r 286 of the Florida statutes. Chapter 286.0105 requires notice of meetings and hearings to be announced to the public. A written record of the meetingâ€™s minutes mu st also be maintained as required by 286.011(2). In paragraphs (3) and (4), of 286.0105 the law outlines punishment for noncompliance with the law by public officials. This includes both a monetary fine of $500 and the potential for misdemeanor charges. Paragraph (5) allows for the recovery of attorney and court fees accrued by citizens w ho engage in legal action to appeal denials accessing public records of meetings. Para graph (6) provides for protection from discriminatory practices that might restrict facility acce ss at the location of a public meeting. Under Chapter 286, certain kinds of meetings are exempted from inclusion under the open meetings law.
14 Chapter 119 The Public Records Law of the Florida Statutes, Chapter 11 9 establishes state policy on accessing records genera ted by state agencies. The te xt of the legislation uses specific terms to establish the parameters of the law. Chapter 119.011 (1) defines the â€œactual cost of duplication.â€ This cost includes materials and supplies, but not labor or overh ead costs involved in duplication of records for public access. Paragraph (2) define s â€œagencyâ€ as any â€œstate, county, district, authority, or municipal officer, department , division, board, bureau, commission, or other separate unit of government created or establ ish by law.â€ This includes most â€œentities acting on behalf of any public agency.â€ Chapter 119.021 addresses requirements for maintaining public records. These requirements are designed to promote public acc ess to open records. Paragraphs (1)(a)(b) require that records be kept in the â€œbuildi ngs in which they are ordinarily usedâ€ in a manner that is consistent with protection ag ainst fire or water damage. Paragraph 119.021(1)(c)(1) requires that damaged records be repaired when necessary to facilitate review. Chapter 119.07 establishes public access to maintained public records. Paragraph (1)(a) requires that the record be main tained for inspection and duplication by â€œany person desiring to do so, at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions and under supervision by the custodian of public records.â€ In the case that portions of a record are exempted by statute, paragraphs (1)(b)(c)(d) require the record custodian to make the remainder of the record available for public inspection after disclosing the â€œbasis of the exemptionâ€ in writing. Paragraph (e) allows for the courts to inspect and ultimately decide upon public access to exempted records. Paragraph (f) prevents the disposal of
15 exempted records for a period of 30 days while the court considers the legitimacy of the exemption. Paragraph 119.07(4) establis hes a fee schedule for the public when accessing records. Paragraph (2) of Chapter 119 establishes a framework for the â€œautomationâ€ of pubic records in electronic form. The law al so places the burden of disclosure on the agency in that this automa tion should not in any way precl ude disclosure standards under the law. Chapter 119.071 provides general exemption from inspection or copying of public records. Paragraph (1) exempts records relati ng to agency administration in the case of â€œsealed bids or proposals,â€ while paragraphs (e) and (f) respectively exempt â€œfederally licensed radio or televisi on signalsâ€ and licensed â€œagen cy-produced software.â€ Paragraph (2) exempts disclosure of record s relating to agency investigations, while paragraph (3) exempts disclosure of records re lated to security syst ems. Paragraphs (4) and (5) exempt the disclosure of agency personnel inform ation such as employment records and other personal information. Certain agencies are also exempted from the inspection of public records. Chapter 119.0712 (1) protects disclosure of Department of Health records th at reveal personal banking, health or related information. Pa ragraph (2) protects personal information included in records held by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This includes personal information such as so cial security numbers, names, driver identification numbers, addresses, telephone numb ers, medical or disability information.â€ Chapter 119.10(1)(a)(b) outlines penalties for violation of public records access under the law. Public officers who violate the law can face a $500 fine, in addition to
16 â€œsuspension and removal or impeachment.â€ Subparagraph (b) also subjects public officers to a misdemeanor charge when they knowingly violate the law. Chapter 119.11 allows for the efficient handli ng of any actions filed to â€œenforce the provisions of [the] chapter.â€ Agencies must comply with requests for records inspection within 48 hours â€œunless otherw ise provided by the court issui ng such order, or unless the appellate court issues a stay orde r within such a 48-hour period.â€ Public Opinion To understand the importance of press e ducation in regards to the Florida Sunshine Laws, it is necessary to analy ze citizenâ€™s knowledge and opinions about the statutes. A 2002 public opini on poll conducted by Linda Pe rry and Mary Ann Ferguson found that residents are confused over the workings of th e law (Perry, 2002). Over half of the respondents were confused in their understanding that they would have to state a purpose for viewing a record, while nearly two-thirds wrongly thought that they would have to show identification to access a record (Perry, 2002). Given the publicâ€™s misunderstanding of the law, it s eems important that the press is well versed in practice of the Sunshine statutes. In this way, journalists can perfor m their role in a democratic society as the public expects. The poll found that 78% of the respondents felt freedom of the press was essential to demo cracy (Perry, 2002). Overall, the poll seems to emphasize the importance of the pressâ€™ role to educate residents a bout government actions. It therefore follows that the education of journa lists in this important area is critical in ensuring that they can adequately perform th eir role of checking as discussed by Blasi.
17 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Research Questions How are working journalists educated in the area of open government meetings and access to government records? This governing question provides the framework for the present studyâ€™s five research questions. 1. What relationship exists between level of formal education in legal rights and level of satisfaction with education? 2. What relationship exists between level of professional on-t he-job training in legal rights and level of sa tisfaction with job training? 3. What relationship exists between perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights a nd frequency of stories re quiring access knowledge? 4. What relationship exists between ma nagers and employees levels of satisfaction with professional training? 5. What relationship exists between reliance on education and reliance on training for knowledge of access laws? Sampling Technique This study was conducted via a census of televi sion reporters in the state of Florida. Although the results of this study cannot be gene ralized to the entire nation, the state of Florida, with a diversity of markets, is reasonably repres entative of television markets across the nation. Also, by examining only Flor ida television reporte rs, state access laws can be used as a basis for analysis since statutes that govern access to meetings and records differ from state to state. A national survey would be complicated by the fact that state laws vary across the nation.
18 The researcher compiled a list of local Florid a television stations. Only stations that air news broadcasts were included in the list . For each station, the station call letters, name of the news director, business addr ess, phone number and e-mail were collected through company websites, professional yearboo ks and phone contact. If possible, the number of potential respondent s was also collected. After the list was generated, a packet of the appropriate number of questionnaires with attached stamped return envelopes were mailed to each news director. In the case that this information was not available, 20 questionnaires were ma iled to the station. Included was a letter from Professor Sandra Ch ance, Director of th e Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This letter, along with the cover letter encouraged participation. The cover lette r also served the purpose of explaining the study to the news director in the hopes that their support for participation would be passed on to the staff. A copy of the letter appears in Appendix E. Each questionnaire also had an informed consent re lease form to be signed by the participant. A copy of the form appears in Appendix D. The news directors were given an instruction letter about distributing the su rveys. They were instructed to give them to reporters, anchors and newsroom management personnel su ch as news director s and assistant news directors. A copy of the instruction letter appears in Appendix C. The inclusion of middle management is relevant because it a llows the relationship between manager and employee satisfaction with professional traini ng to be explored. Anchors were included because many dually report, or have worked as reporters. Operationalization of Research Variables The key variables in the present study are le vel of formal education in journalistsâ€™ legal rights, level of satisfaction with educat ion, level of professiona l on-the-job training
19 in journalistsâ€™ legal rights, level of satisfaction with j ob training, perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights, fre quency of coverage of stories requiring access knowledge, and knowledge of j ournalistsâ€™ legal rights. Level of formal education in journalistsâ€™ legal rights was measured in two ways. Respondents were asked to indi cate the highest level of educ ation completed. There are eight possible responses: â€œhigh school,â€ â€œsom e college,â€ â€œcollege,â€ â€œsome post-graduate work,â€ â€œMasterâ€™s degree,â€ â€œPh.D.,â€ â€œProfe ssional degree,â€ or â€œTec hnical school.â€ The respondent was instructed to circ le the appropriate response. Level of formal education in journalistsâ€™ legal rights was also measured by a series of Likert scales. Responde nts were asked the extent to which they agree with the following statements: 1. Upon completion of my highest level of education, I was expected to have working knowledge of the laws that protect a journalistâ€™s right to access information and attend open government meetings. 2. The majority of my knowledge in th e area of access was acquired through formal education. For this variable and for each Likert scale in this study, respondents were asked to indicate whether they Strongl y Disagree (SD), Disagree (D), Somewhat Disagree (SDA), Undecided (U), Somewhat agree (SWA), Agree (A), and Strongly Agree (SA). Responses were summed across all items to give the respondent a score for formal education in journalistsâ€™ rights. A series of Likert scal es were also employed to measure the following variables: level of satisfaction with formal e ducation, level of professional job training, level of satisfaction with professional tr aining and level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal right.
20 To measure level of satisfaction with form al education in journalistsâ€™ legal rights respondents were asked to indi cate the extent to which th ey agree with the following statements: 1. Broadcast journalists receive adequate education in the area of access while in college. 2. I am satisfied with the level of formal education I received in the area of journalistsâ€™ legal rights while in college. 3. I am satisfied with the level of formal education I received in college in the area of accessing government meetings and records. Responses were summed across all items to give the respondent a score for level of satisfaction with formal edu cation in journa listsâ€™ rights. To measure level of professional job tr aining in journalist sâ€™ legal rights, respondents were asked to indi cate the extent to which th ey agree with the following statements: 1. My employer provided training in the la ws that protect a journalistsâ€™ right to access information and attend government meetings. 2. On the job training was the main source of my knowledge in access laws in Florida. Responses were summed across all items to generate a professional job training score for each respondent. To measure level of satisf action with professional trai ning, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they agree with the following statements: 1. I feel that current journa list training in regards to access laws, is adequate. 2. There should be more employertraining in access issues. Responses were summed across all items to generate a Professional job training satisfaction score for each respondent.
21 To measure the perceived level of importa nce of journalistsâ€™ rights, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to whic h they agree with the following statements: 1. Knowledge of government access issues is critical to good journalism. 2. Formal education in the area of access la ws is critical to the education of journalism students. 3. Professional training in the area of access law is important for working broadcast journalists. 4. It is not necessary for a broadcast jo urnalist to have a functioning knowledge of the laws that protect access to government meetings and records. Responses were summed across all items to generate a perceived importance of legal training score for each respondent. To measure frequency of work on st ories that require access knowledge, respondents were asked to indicate how often they work on stories th at require a working knowledge of access rights to collect background information for the report. They were asked to specify how many stories they work on in either a â€œmonthâ€ or a â€œyear.â€ They selected one of these options and wrote in the most appropriate numeric responses. Responses were scored to generate a measur e of frequency of access work by tallying the total number of stories for a year. Information reliance, which source is most important in acquiring access knowledge, was measured with a question asking journalists to indi cate their sources of access information on a scale of 0 to 10 wh ere 0 means no importance and 10 means of utmost importance. Sources include: â€œschool,â€ â€œemployer training,â€ â€œon the job training,â€ and â€œother_______.â€ Scores for each ite m were tabulated across the responses.
22 Analysis of Research Questions Research question one asks what relati onship exists between level of formal education in journalists â€™ legal rights and le vel of satisfaction w ith education. This question was analyzed by comparing formal e ducation scores with education satisfaction scores. Research question two asks what relations hip exists between le vel of professional job training in journalistsâ€™ le gal rights and level of satisfact ion with job training. This question was analyzed by comparing professi onal training with job training satisfaction scores. Research question three asks what relati onship exists between perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights and frequency of stories requiring access knowledge. This question was analyzed by co mparing perceived importance scores with frequency of stories scores. Research question four asks how manage rs and employees differ in level of satisfaction with professiona l training. This question was analyzed by comparing managers and employee scores using job ti tles to sort responses into two sets. Research question five asks whether journalist rely mo re on education or training for knowledge of access laws? This question was analyzed by comparing scores of journalists on information reliance.
23 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Brief Overview Of the 721 surveys that were mailed, 86 were re turned. This results in a return rate of 11.92%. The average respondent age is 37, with birth years ranging 1947-1982. Respondents reported an average of 12.72 years ( =8.881) experience in television with a range of 1-34 years. The mean for journali sm experience reported is slightly higher at 14.40 years ( =9.092) with a range of 1-35 years. Employment Situation Respondents were asked to identify the size of the television market in which they are currently employed. Tabl e 4-1 shows the number of re spondents in each of six categories of market size. Table 4-1. Market size. Market Size Fre q uenc y Percent 1 2 2.3 11 43 50.0 26 8 9.3 51 12 14.0 101 5 5.8 151 16 18.6 Respondents were asked to indicate the number of stories they are involved in each year that require knowledge of access rights. All responses were adjusted to show the average total for one year. The mean response was 60.81 ( =80.308) with a range of 0 to 365 stories. The high standard deviation is in dicative of a wide range of experiences in
24 actually using government access knowledge on a day-to-day basis. Some respondents use the knowledge everyday, whereas many use it infrequently, if at all. Survey participants were asked to identif y their current job title in an open-ended question. Just over 52% of respondents provi ded a job title that indicated a primary occupation involving reporting. Managerial roles account for 18% of the responses. Producers account for 13.1%. The remaini ng reported titles include photographer, meteorologist, anchor, and managing editor. Table 4-2. Job title. Frequency Percent General Assi g nment 1821.4 Associate News Director 4 4.8 Anchor/Reporter 16 19.0 News Director 4 4.8 Anchor/Investigative 2 2.4 Executive Producer 5 6.0 Investigative Reporter 6 7.1 Assignment Manager 6 7.1 Anchor 5 6.0 Producer 9 10.7 Special Projects Producer 1 1.2 Photographer 2 2.4 Meteorologist 1 1.2 News Operation Manager 1 1.2 Medical Reporter 1 1.2 Journalist 1 1.2 Anchor/Producer 1 1.2 Managing Editor 1 1.2 Missing 2 2.3 Education Participants were asked to indicate th e highest level of education completed. Eighty-two point four percent of respondents hold a college degree, with an additional 3.5% having â€œsome collegeâ€ education. Just over 7% of respondents have completed â€œsome post graduate workâ€ with an additi onal 4.7% holding a â€œmasterâ€™s degree,â€ and
25 1.2% holding a â€œprofessional degree.â€ Only 1.2% of respondents re port they received training from a technical school. Table 4-3. Relevant major course of study Fre q uenc y % Telecommunication 6 9.5 Political Science 3 4.8 Video Production 1 1.6 Mass Communication 7 11.1 Communications 14 22.2 Broadcast Journalism 12 19.0 Broadcast News 4 6.3 TV/Radio 4 6.3 Journalism 6 9.5 Media 1 1.6 Marketing 1 1.6 Print Journalism 1 1.6 English 1 1.6 Meteorology 1 1.6 Electronic Media 1 1.6 Missing 23 26.7 Survey participants were also asked to identify their â€œrelevant major course of study.â€ Responses were open-ended, with 33.3% reporting a general area such as â€œmass communication,â€ â€œcommunications,â€ or â€œjou rnalism;â€ 27% reporting an broadcast specific area such as â€œTV/radioâ€ or â€œbroadcast ne ws,â€ 9.5% reporting â€œtelecommunications,â€ and 4.8% reporting â€œpolitical science.â€ Other areas reported include â€œmarketing,â€ â€œprint journalism,â€ â€œEnglishâ€ and â€œMeteorology.â€ Participants were asked to identify the st ate in which they completed their college education. Twenty-seven states were repr esented including Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Ohio, De laware, Georgia, Alabama, Mi ssouri, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, New Me xico, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Colorado, Ca lifornia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas and Maryland. Of the 81 particip ants who responded to this question, 39.5%
26 completed their college education in the state of Florida. This fi nding is significant since college training in open-government and open-mee ting laws is typically state specific. Sources of Knowledge Participants were asked to indicate the le vel of value of four sources of education using a scale of 0 to 10 with â€ meaning the source was of no value, and â€ meaning the source was â€œvery important.â€ Mean responses were as follows: School6.65 ( =2.572), Employer training5.92 ( =3.343), On-the-job learning9.59 ( =.981), Other sources9.65 ( =.862). This indicates that responde nts most highly value sources other than school, employer training or on-the j ob learning. Of the categorical responses, employer training was least valued as a sour ce of education, followed by school. On the job learning ranks almost as high as other sources as a source of education. Table 4-4. Sources of knowledge. Source N Minimu m Maximu m Mean Std. Dev. ( ) Emplo y er trainin g 790105.92 3.343 On-the-job learning 82 5 10 9.59 .981 School 84 0 10 6.65 2.572 Other 17 7 10 9.65 .862 Beyond these broad categories, participants were also asked to rate more specific sources of access law knowledge. Respondents indicated the source that was the most influential in their knowledge of access laws : 19.8% report â€œeducat ion,â€ 43% report â€œjob training,â€ 27.9% report â€œpersonal experienceâ€ and 9.3% report â€œprofessional seminars.â€ Looking at these data, job training is most highly valued, followed by personal experience and education. Participants were asked to rate the level of importance of six sources in influencing their knowledge of access laws . Zero means no importance and ten means very important. Mean responses were as follows: Work8.05 ( =2.493), Self-learning and
27 research7.08 ( =3.129), Employer training5.46 ( =3.392), School4.75 ( =3.512), Workshop-conferences3.49 ( =3.932), Trade organizations2.27 ( =3.310). These data are in line with data presented in the two previous paragraphs. Table 4-5. Sources infl uencing access knowledge. Source N Minimu m Maximu m Mean Std. Dev. ( ) School 83 0104.753.512 Work 83 0 10 8.05 2.493 Training 79 0 10 5.46 3.392 Organization 70 0 10 2.27 3.310 Conferences 74 0 10 3.49 3.932 Self-Learning 79 0 10 7.08 3.129 Work as a source of influence received th e highest mean score, followed by selflearning and research. Employer training was a distant third; school , trade organizations and workshops have a much lower mean score. The findings clearly suggest that journalists feel that the most important in fluence on their knowle dge of access laws is working in the field. Participants were asked to indicate their opinions on a variety of topics using a series of Likert scales. For each item: A response of â€ indicates the participant â€œs trongly disagreesâ€ with the statement. A response of â€ indicates th e participant â€œdisagrees.â€ A response of â€ indicate the part icipant â€œdisagrees somewhat.â€ A response of â€ indicates the participant is â€œundecided.â€ A response of â€ indicates the pa rticipant â€œagrees somewhat.â€ A response of â€ indicates th e participant â€œagrees.â€ A response of â€ indicates the pa rticipant â€œstrongly agrees.â€ Formal Education The mean response to the statement â€œThe ma jority of my knowledge in the area of access was acquired through formal educationâ€ was 3.72 ( =6.925). Of the 83 respondents to this question, 66.3% indicated some level of disagreement with the
28 statement. The remaining responses fall on th e agreement end of the scale, with only 1.2% undecided. This shows that over 63% of respondents to this question felt that the majority of their knowledge in the area of access did not come from formal education. The mean response to the statement â€œU pon completion of my highest level of education, I was expected to have worki ng knowledge of the laws that protected a journalistsâ€™ right to access in formation and attend open government meetingsâ€ was 4.20 ( =2.041). Just over 52% of the respondents eith er agreed or strong ly agreed with the statement. Forty point seven percent of respondents indicated disagreement and only 3.5% are undecided. Although these findings initiall y appear to be contradi ctory, a close examination suggests a reasonable, consistent explana tion. The respondents indicated that the majority of their education did not come from formal education, yet when their education was completed, they were expected to have working knowledge of the laws. This seems to suggest that they either acquired the information elsewher e during the cour se of their education or were unaware of the laws at the time of their matriculation. Satisfaction with Formal Education The three items designed to measure satisfa ction with formal education seem to indicate dissatisfaction with e ducation in the area of access. The mean response to the statement â€œB roadcast journalist receive adequate education in the area of access while in collegeâ€ was 3.32 ( =1.666). Just over 53% of respondents indicated some level of disagreement with the st atement. Thirty point two percent indicated some level of agreement.
29 The mean response to the statement â€œI am satisfied with the level of formal education I received in the area of journali stsâ€™ legal rights while in college is 3.84 ( =1.997). Almost 48% of the respondents indi cated some level of disagreement, while 46.4% indicated some level of agreement. The mean response to the statement â€œI am satisfied with the level of formal education I received in the ar ea of accessing government meetings and records while in collegeâ€ was 3.69 ( =1.906). Almost 48% of the res pondents indicated some level of disagreement with the statement, while 43.1% indicated some le vel of agreement. The results suggest that a significant per centage of journalists do not feel they receive adequate education in access while in college. However, respondents were not dissatisfied with the access e ducation they did receive. Professional Training The mean response to the statement â€œMy employer, or previous employer, provided adequate training in the area of accessâ€ was 3.83 ( =2.017). Forty-seven point seven percent agreed on some level with the statement while 41.9% disagreed on some level. The largest single category response wa s 24.4% for â€œagree somewhat,â€ followed by 19.8% for â€œstrongly disagree.â€ The mean response to the statement â€œOn the job training was the main source of my knowledge in access laws in Floridaâ€ was 5.31 ( =1.880). The frequencies analysis revealed overwhelming agreement with this statement. Just 19.8% of respondents disagreed in some way; 2.3% were undecide d. The remaining majority agreed on some level. The results indicate the presence of employer-provided trai ning is a significant source of access law knowledge.
30 Satisfaction with Professional Training The mean response to the statement â€œI f eel that current jour nalist training, in regards to access laws, is adequateâ€ was 3.66 ( =3.811). The frequencies analysis reveals that many respondent s disagree with this statement and a large number are undecided. Of the 82 responses, 56.2% disa gree, while 22% are â€œundecided.â€ That leaves just over 20% who agreed that current trai ning is adequate. The mean response to the statement â€œThere should be more employer-training in access issuesâ€ was 6.11 ( =.776). The results revealed a high level of agreement with the statement. Twenty-four point four percen t â€œagree somewhat,â€ 38.4% â€œagree,â€ and 34.9% â€œstrongly agree.â€ The results presented for satisfaction w ith professional training suggest that respondents do not feel current training is adequate and that there should be more employer training. Despite this, respondents in dicated they feel know ledgeable about the laws. The mean response to the statement â€œI feel that I am knowledgeable about Florida access lawsâ€ was 4.94 ( =1.499). Over sixteen percent of respondents disagree on some level, while 7.1% are undecided. The remain ing respondents agree with the statement. Among the survey participants, there is confidence surrounding access law knowledge. Perceived Importance of Journalistsâ€™ Rights The mean response to the statement â€œKnow ledge of government access issues is critical to good j ournalismâ€ was 7.18 ( =5.872). There is a strong level of agreement with the statement. Almost 70% of res pondents indicated they â€œstrongly agree,â€ 31% â€œagree,â€ and 3.6% â€œagree somewhat.â€
31 The mean response to the statement â€œFormal education in the area of access is critical to the education of journalism studentsâ€ was 5.92 ( =1.254). Over 91% of respondents agree on some level. The respons e indicated that jour nalists highly value access knowledge as an essential of both professional life and education. The mean response to the statement â€œProfe ssional training in th e area of access law is important for working broa dcast journalistsâ€ was 6.18 ( =1.071). Most respondents agree to some degree: 45.9% â€œstron gly agree,â€ 38.8% â€œagre e,â€ and 9.4% â€œagree somewhat.â€ The mean response to the statement â€œIt is not necessary for broadcast journalist to have a functioning knowledge of the laws that protect access to government meetings and recordsâ€ was 1.78 ( =1.392). Florida Sunshine Laws The mean response to the statement â€œThe Florida Sunshine Laws are an important tool in protecting the rights of Florida jour nalistsâ€ was 6.39 ( =.836). Fifty-six percent of respondents â€œstrongly agree, â€ 33.3% â€œagree,â€ 4.8% â€œagree somewhat, and the remaining 6% are undecided. The mean response to the statement â€œI would like more training in the Florida Sunshine Lawsâ€ was 5.78 ( =1.031). Over 24 % of responde nts â€œstrongly agree,â€ 43.9% â€œagree,â€ 20.7% â€œagree somewhat,â€ and 8.5% ar e â€œundecided. The results indicated that journalist value the Florida Sunshine laws and want additional e ducation regarding the access laws.
32 Miscellaneous The mean response to the statement â€œI feel my current level of training is adequate to pursue investigativ e storiesâ€ was 5.12 ( =1.501). The mean response to the statement â€œThere is a move in television news towards more issue-oriented, community journalismâ€ was 4.53 ( =1.708). Almost 59% of respondents agree on some level, while 17.6 % are undecided. The remaining responses indicated some level of disagreement. The mean response to the statement â€œUpon being hired at my current position, my employer expected me to have working knowledge of the laws that pr otect a journalistsâ€™ right to access information and attend open government meetingsâ€ was 4.26 ( =1.747). The mean response to the statement â€œThere shou ld be more formal educational training in the areas of accessâ€ was 6.02 ( =.897). The mean response to the statement â€œMy employer provided training in the laws that protect a journalistsâ€™ right to access information and attend government meetingsâ€ was 3.45 ( =1.865). Information Sources for News Reports Participants were asked to use a scale of 0-10 to indi cate the level of perceived importance of eight sources in collection of information for ne ws reports. On the scale, zero means respondents believe the source is of no importance and ten means very important. Table 4.6 shows the mean importance ratings for each of the eight sources. Interviews were rated as most important (with a mean of 9.22), followed by personal contacts (8.77), Official sources (8.16 ), Government records (7.83), Community involvement (7.61), Wire copy (7.58), Govern ment meetings (7.20) and Press releases (6.87).
33 Table 4-6. Information s ources for news reports. N Minimu m Maximu m Mean Std. Dev. ( ) Wire Cop y 86 0107.58 2.303 Comm. Involvement 85 1 10 7.61 2.411 Interviews 86 4 10 9.22 1.259 Government Records 86 2 10 7.83 2.013 Government Meetings 86 0 10 7.20 2.201 Press Releases 84 0 10 6.87 2.554 Official Sources 83 2 10 8.16 1.972 Personal Contacts 83 1 10 8.77 1.755 Research Question One Research Question One asks what relati onship exists between level of formal education in legal rights a nd level of satisfaction with education. Level of formal education and level of satisfaction with form al education were each measured in three different ways. Pearson Product Moment Co rrelations were conducted to test for relationships between each of the pairs of measured variables. The results are presented in Table 4-7. As expected, they analyses revealed strong positive relationships among the variables. All correlations were si gnificant at the .01 level of probability. The coefficient for the correlation between the belief that journalists receive adequate college access education and the e xpectation of working knowledge of access at college graduation was .652. Analysis yielde d a coefficient of .675 for the correlation between satisfaction with formal access e ducation and the exp ectation of working knowledge of access at college graduation. Th e coefficient for th e correlation between satisfaction with formal education in accessi ng government records and meetings and the expectation of working knowledge of access at college graduation was .638. The data clearly indicate a strong positive correlation be tween level of formal education in legal rights and level of satisfacti on with education. People with a higher level of education
34 were more satisfied with their education. A dditionally, people who had access training as part of their formal educa tion were more satisfied. Table 4-7. Relationship between level of form al education in legal rights and level of satisfaction with education. Level of Formal Education LEVEDWORKKNO FORMALED Pearson -.075 .652(**) .160 Sig. (2-tailed) .500 .000 .150 COLLED N 84 83 82 Pearson .009 .675(**) .079 Sig. ( 2-tailed ) .934 .000 .484 SATISCOL N 83 83 81 Pearson -.018 .638(**) .105 Sig. ( 2-tailed ) .871 .000 .353 Level of Satisfaction with Education OPNSATCO N 83 83 81 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). No significant statistical correlations were identified when comparing the highest level of education completed and the belief that journalist receive adequate college access education, satisfaction with formal access education, or satisfaction with formal education in accessing government records and meetings. Likewise, no significant correlations were identified when comparing the respondent belief that a majority of access knowledge was acquired through formal e ducation and the belief that journalist receive adequate college access education, sati sfaction with formal access education, or satisfaction with formal education in acces sing government records and meetings. Research Question Two Research Question Two asks what relations hip exists between le vel of professional on-the-job training in legal rights and level of satisfaction with job training. Level of professional on-the-job training in legal rights was measured in two ways. Two measures
35 were also used to assess leve l of satisfaction with job trai ning. Pearson Correlations were conducted to test for relationshi ps between variables. The results are presented in Table 4-8. As expected, they analyses revealed strong positive relationshi ps among the pairs of variables. There is a significant correlation between level of professional on-the-job training in legal rights and satisfaction levels. The coefficient for the correlation between adequate employer-provided access training and the belief that on-the-job training was the main source of access law knowledge was .307, with significance at the 0.01 level. When employers provide training to employees th e data seems to indicate that it was their main source of access knowledge. Table 4-8. Relationship between level of pr ofessional job training in legal rights and level of satisfaction with job training. Level of professi onal training training EMPTRAIN ONJOBTRA Pearson Corr. .143-.120 Sig. (2-tailed) .201 .282 TRAINAD N 82 82 Pearson Corr. -.225(*) .014 Sig. (2-tailed) .042 .901 MOREEMP N 82 82 Level of satisfaction with professional training Pearson .307(**) Sig. (2-tailed) .005 ONJOBTRA N 83 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). An inverse relationship was found between adequate employer-provided access training and a desire for more employer training in access issues, with a significant correlation of -.225 at the 0.05 level. Where employers have provided training, there was
36 not as much of a desire for additional trai ning. As level of empl oyer training increases, employee desire for additiona l training decreases. No significant correlations were iden tified between adequate employer-provided access training and the belief that current j ournalism access training is adequate. No significant correlations were identified between the belief that on-th e-job training was the main source of access law knowledge and the belief that current journalism access training is adequate or a desire for mo re employer training in access issues. Research Question Three Research Question Three asks what relations hip exists between perceived level of Table 4-9. Relationship between perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights and frequency of storie s requiring access knowledge Frequency Pearson Corr.-.071 Sig. (2-tailed) .555 KNOWCRIT N 71 Pearson Corr. -.106 Sig. (2-tailed) .378 FORMALED N 71 Pearson Corr. .224 Sig. (2-tailed) .061 PROTRAIN N 71 FUNKNOW Pearson Corr. -.023 Sig. (2-tailed) .851 Level of Imprtance of Journalistsâ€™ Legal Rights N 72 **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights and frequency of stories requiring access knowledge. Four measures were employed to assess perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights. The results revealed no statistically significant correlations between these
37 variables. The data showed no relations hip between the number of access stories a journalist is involved and their percepti on of the importance of the access laws. Research Question Four Research Question Four asks what re lationship exists between manager and employeeâ€™s levels of satisfaction with professi onal training. Two meas ures were used to assess the level of satisfacti on with professional training. Respondents were divided into two groups based on their response to survey question one that collects information on job title. One group consists of respondents that identified managerial titles. The remaining respondents were placed in the second group, which contain non-managerial titles. The variable measur ing job title was recoded to produce these two groups. A t-test was conducted to i nvestigate whether differences exist between manager and employee levels of satisfaction with pr ofessional training. Th e mean satisfaction level for managers was 4.50 ( =1.990); while the mean for employees was 3.78 ( =1.983). The managerâ€™s score is higher by .78, indicating that the managers appear to agree more strongly than the employees that more formal training is needed. However, the results of the t-test analysis (shown in Table 4-10) revealed that the differences were not significant. The mean response for manage rsâ€™ belief that current journalist access training is adequate was 2.86 ( =1.292). The mean employee response was 3.86 ( =4.180). The managerâ€™s score is lower on this question indicating th at managers, more so than the employees, are unsatisfied with current journalism training in regards to access laws. However, as in the previous comparison, the t-test revealed that these differences were not significan t. The results to this questi on seem to suggest that the
38 managerâ€™s want to provide their employ eeâ€™s with more training, even though the employeeâ€™s are not necessarily asking for it. Table 4-10. Manager versus employees satisf action levels with pr ofessional training. Role N Mean Std. Dev. t df Sig (2-tailed) EMPTRAIN 1.00 14 4.50 1.990 2.00 67 3.78 1.983 1.238 18.795 .231 TRAINAD 1.00 14 2.86 1.292 2.00 66 3.86 4.180 -1.624 67.869 .109 Research Question Five Research Question Five asks what re lationship exists between reliance on education and reliance on training for knowle dge of access laws. Reliance on education was measured by asking respondents to rank the level of importance of school in influencing knowledge of access laws. Relia nce on training was measured by asking respondents to rank the level of importance of training in influencing knowledge of access laws. Pearson Product Moment Correla tions were utilized to examine the relationship between these vari ables. The mean response fo r school influence of access law knowledge was 4.75 ( =3.512). Reliance on training was measured by asking respondents to rank the level of importance of training in influencing knowledge of access laws. The mean response for training influence of access law knowledge was 5.46 ( =3.392). The results revealed no significant correlations be tween reliance on education and reliance on training for knowle dge of access laws(table 4-5)..
39 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The American press is endowed with certain rights that are justified by the mediaâ€™s responsibility to inform citizen s on the activities of elected g overnment leaders. When the press fails in this watchdog role, doubt is cast upon this justificati on. Therefore, it is necessary to determine how journalists are trained to perform their civic duty of monitoring the government. It is through this most important role that the press is able to serve the public by informing c itizens of government activities. The literature revealed a gray area in the study of journalism access training. Educators and employers are at odds over w ho should provide the necessary training. Even the degree to which broadcast journa lists use access skills in their day-to-day reporting was called into question given th e advancement of â€œinfo-tainmentâ€ news programming. A logical first step was to determine whether edu cation or professional training was the primary source of ac cess knowledge. Equally important was investigating the source of broadcast news stories. Finally, broadcast journalistsâ€™ attitudes about the importance of the Flor ida State Sunshine Laws were measured. This study was designed to examine televi sion news professionalsâ€™ perceptions of the adequacy of media law training by seek ing information on the manner in which journalists obtain access information. In Ch apter Two, the literature indicated a trend whereby the news media are decreasing relian ce on investigative skil ls, which are needed to uncover stories obscured by bureaucracy. Th e literature also seemed to suggest a
40 deficit between what was expected of new j ournalism graduates and the actual amount of access education they received while in colleg e. Doubt was introduced as to whether working television reporters were aware of thei r rights regarding government access. It is hoped that the results of this study will shed light on the issue so educators and newsroom managers can begin to coordinate a consistent system for training broadcast journalists in the area of state specific access. So, is the press acting in its duty to be th e â€œmore alert elementâ€ as Siebert suggests? Respondents in the present study report they annually report an average of 60 stories requiring access knowledge or training. The range spanned from a single access story reported in a year to a report everyday. Predictably, the actual number of stories requiring access skills to collect information ranges as widely as the job roles of the journalists who provided the da ta. Some reporters are calle d upon or compelled to write many of these stories. Others never enc ounter the opportunity, or perhaps do not have the knowledge, to uncover the leads. As a w hole, the reporters do seem to be using these skills to remain alert to state a nd local issues and records. This study uncovered a very interesting fi nding regarding the conflicting literature between educators and news di rectorsâ€™ expectations of wh ere and when access training should occur. The 2002 Princeton Survey conc luded that managers are more satisfied than employees with opportunities for tr aining and development. For broadcast journalists in Florida, this doe s not seem to be the case. Managers, as a whole, tend to agree more strongly than employees that more training is needed in the area of access. Perhaps they want to provide training to employees they feel would benefit from the skill set. Managers also report lo wer satisfaction with current ac cess training. This result was
41 surprising. In the existing literature, journa listsâ€™ needs were ofte n pitted against the budget constraints of the news organization. Th is might still be the case, but it is noted that news managers seem to value access trai ning more highly than their employees. The findings suggest that when employers provide training, it is often their employees only formal source of access training. The Bullard and McLeary study reported th at new journalists do not feel equipped to cut through â€œred tapeâ€ when reporting on gove rnmental affairs. This study confirms those findings with journalists reporting satisfa ction with their form al access education. Most respondents report that the education they receive d was adequate and useful; however, they see merit in providing additi onal education to further knowledge in the area. Employment & Education The average participant age is 37 years ol d, with a reported mean of about 12 years of television experience. The average num ber of years the participants worked in journalism is about 14 years. Of course, th ere is a wide range and a high standard deviation in these averages, but even with this considerati on, some generalizations can be made. First, it appears that the average re spondent is not a recent graduate; the average respondent is not new to televi sion or to journalism. This could in many ways validate the responses in regards to expe rience in the field. If so meone has been working in the field for an extended period of time, they will have greater awareness of issues and trends affecting day-to-day activities. However, w ith a limited number of recent graduates, the results do not as accurately represent immediate collegiate trends. Therefore, it is difficult to account for changes in curriculum that might have occurred in the last few years.
42 Over 95% of the respondents hold a college degree. This common bond of undergraduate education suggests that this wo uld be a very effective method to reach future journalists. Gone ar e the days of joining the news business right out of high school. The response indicates that todayâ€™s working broadcast jour nalists are trained formally and seek a degree before seeking a professional position. There is a wide range in the reported ma rket size. Across th e six categories, 50% of the respondents report currently working in markets 11-25. Less th an three percent of respondents are from top ten markets. This is significant because larger top ten markets might be better able to afford training for their employees. Respondents report a variety of job titles, beyond the initial scope of this survey. News directors were asked to pass the surv eys on to reporters, producers, anchors and newsroom managers. These roles are reflected in the responses, as well as other positions that were not initially considered for the study. Only one photographer, one meteorologist, and one medical reporter responded to the survey. Results for these participants were ultimately included sin ce the judgment of wh ether these employees were good survey candidates was left to i ndividual news direct ors. The study was ultimately very successful in reaching the inte nded audience of journalists who generate and research story content. Over 83% of respondents were in the target group of reporters, producers or newsroom management . The remaining 17% of respondents were comprised of the above mentioned photogr aphers, meteorologists or anchors and managing editors. Almost 40% of the respondents completed their college education in the state of Florida. It is possible that those journalists, targeted by the study, would be able to
43 benefit from state specific access education. However, 60% of the respondents completed degrees in 26 other states and were presumably in the dark about Florida Sunshine laws at completion of their educati on. The television business lends itself to a transient lifestyle. Employees change mark ets for career advancement and this often involves moving across state lines . These employees arguably rely on employer provided training to close the gap in their statespecific access knowledge. Colleges might consider this finding when developing access cu rriculum. State-specific content might be helpful for graduates who plan to work in th e state, but it cannot prepare the students who might unexpectedly find themselves working in an unfamiliar state. Federal freedom of information laws would logically be include d in access education, but how to explore state specific laws is a more complex issue. This finding suggests that it is nearly impossible for colleges to adequately prepare j ournalists for careers in which they will be called to gain access to government records and meetings in any of the 50 states. General guidelines could be offered, but state-specif ic content would be inappropriate for the majority of students who e nd up across state lines. Sources of Knowledge When asked to rank sources of access knowledge including employer training, onthe-job learning, and school, res pondents gave the highest mean score to â€œotherâ€ sources. â€œOn-the-job learningâ€ did receive a very high score of 9.59, which is significantly higher than the mean scores for employer training a nd school. Responses i ndicate that â€œlearning while on the jobâ€ is a significant and valu able method of advancing individual access education. Forty-three percen t of respondents report that this source of knowledge was most influential in their knowledge of acce ss laws. Personal experience accounted for 27.9% of the participant response to this que stion. This could be another way of
44 expressing â€œon the job learningâ€ since the experience does fall under the institutional sources. Self-learning earned an unusua lly high mean score of 7.08 as a source influencing knowledge. Just 19.8% of respondents report that education was their most influential source of access law knowledge. Respondents gave education a mean score of 4.75 as a source influencing access knowledge. It seems that for many journalists, their initiative and need for survival spurs them to seek out the knowle dge they need at the time they need it. This is a functioning and efficient method for gaining knowledge, although it does not ensure a high standard of information and it relies on the participant to initiate the access request. What if a journalist did not have an understanding of existing laws? Would the story simply be passed over or inadequately covered in the event the reporter did not have the knowledge n ecessary to be able to fully explore the issue? This study also examined specific informa tion sources as a way of determining to what degree journalists rely on various media for generating story ideas and content. In comparing the mean scores for each source, interviews ranked highest at 9.22, followed closely by official sources and personal c ontacts. Government records and meetings came in fourth and seventh respectively out of the eight sources rated. Government meetings fell behind both wire copy and community involvement as sources of information for reports. These findings suggest that broadcast jour nalists are not using government records and meetings as much as they are relying on the standard official sources. This is troubling sin ce official sources are often re presentatives of the agencies and institutions that the journalists are ch arged with overseeing in their role as a watchdog. If these official sources are feedi ng them story ideas and information, what
45 are journalists doing to balance coverage and explore story an gles that might not be the first spin an official source puts on the story? Formal Education Collectively, the results for level of fo rmal education and level of satisfaction with formal education suggest s that respondents are moderate ly satisfied with the access training they did receive; however, there is a desire for more formal access education. Relating this information to research ques tion one, which explor es the relationship between level of formal education and level of satisfaction with formal education, the data shows a strong correlation. Not only were access education recipients more satisfied with their education, they were satisfied re gardless of their genera l attitude about the quantity or quality of this education. By participating in access e ducation on any level, respondents seem to have higher levels of satisfaction. The survey measured level of formal acce ss education in a variety of ways. One of the most telling findings to emerge from this area is that two-thirds of respondents reported that the majority of their knowle dge in access did not come from formal education. However, about half of respondent s acknowledge that they were expected to have a working knowledge of access laws upon completion of their highest level of education. The respondents acquired their access knowledge from sources other than formal education. Perhaps they were expected to have the access knowledge upon completion of the degree, but extra-curricula r sources might be required to obtain the information. Another possibility is that the respondents knew they were expected to have the knowledge, but fell short in their individual training. In any case, there seems to be a discrepancy between what is expected and what is actually occurring in institutions across the country.
46 Respondent satisfaction with formal traini ng also reflects this discrepancy. Over half of respondents disagree that broadcast j ournalists receive adequa te education in the area of access while in college. Almost half report some level of dissatisfaction with their own level of formal education in journa listsâ€™ legal rights. Satisfaction with formal education in accessing open government records and meetings also hovered around this number, with 47% of respondents indicating they were unsatisfied with this aspect of their education. Professional Training The justification of research questio n two, exploring the relationship between level of professional on-the-job training and th e level of satisfaction with this training, revealed a strong inverse relationship. Th is suggests that when employers provide training, instead of spurring a desire for more education, the tr aining satisfies the employees. This might indicate that some participants are receiving comprehensive access education, but the correla tion belies some interesting facts that emerge from the study. Almost 80% of respondents agree that onthe-job training was their main source of knowledge in Florida access laws, although less than half of the respondents report that their employer provided adequate training in the area of access. Employer training is a significant source of access knowledge, but is it adequate? Almost 98 % of respondents agree there should be more employer-s ponsored training in access issues. The findings indicate that there is a disconnect between what journalists are receiving and what they expect in regards to employer sponsor ed training. A majority of the respondents report this type of traini ng as their main source of access knowledge, while less than half report that the training was adequate. Are th e broadcast reporters
47 settling for below par training? About 75% of respondents report they feel knowledgeable about access issues, but th ey desire additional employer-sponsored training. This seems to suggest that the re spondents are getting by with the information they have, but they expect more from their employers when it comes to preparing them in this sensitive legal area. Research question four also explored professional training, however it focused more on the relationship between manager and employeeâ€™s levels of satisfaction. Surprisingly, the data reveal that mana gers, not employees more strongly desire additional employee access training. Although the differences were not statistically significant, the findings help to dispel the stereotype that upper management does not see the value in employer-sponsored training. In f act, the data for this survey reveal that managers have a desire to offer more acce ss training to their employees. Additional training would have obvious benefits beyond improving employee satisfaction and retention; well educated repor ters could produce more compe lling in-depth coverage for the station. The most likely reason this trai ning is not offered is because of time and financial constraints. Journalistsâ€™ Rights So what connection do broadcast journa lists make between good journalistic abilities and access education? Over 96% of respondents agree that knowledge of government access issues is critical to good j ournalism. Over 91% agree that formal education in access is critical in the education of journalism students. Over 94% agree that professional training in access is importa nt for working broadcast journalists. These findings seem to clarify the trends discu ssed previously in this study. Broadcast journalists, whether or not they are receivi ng satisfactory access education through school
48 or work, value the opportunity to learn a bout open government and open records laws. There is a desire for more information and they consider the information critical for preparation and functioning in the field. Specifically, 94.1% of respondents agree that the Florida Sunshine laws are an important tool in protecting the rights of Florida journalists. Almost 90% desire more traini ng in the Sunshine laws. Regardless of the source of their original knowledge on access rela ted issues, journalist s in the state of Florida are sending a message that they need and want more training in this specific area. Research question three explored the relationship between perceived level of importance of journalistsâ€™ legal rights a nd frequency of reporting on stories requiring access knowledge. It was expected that particip ants who more highly valued journalistsâ€™ legal rights would report a high frequency of access stories in their work. This was not the case. This finding could be explained in many ways. First, the stories regarding access might be assigned by news directors and assignment editors leav ing little room for personal motivations. Second, there may not be sufficient variation in the responses on the perceived importance of jour nalistsâ€™ legal rights scales to discern varia tions in story frequencies across these groups. As noted pr eviously, agreement le vels were all over 90 % for these variables. Not surprisingly, jour nalists value journalists â€™ legal rights. Also, the great variation reported in story frequenc y seemed to suggest that some participants might access stories in their role as investigativ e reporters. This has more to do with their appointment than a unique view on professional legal rights. Implications This study has several practical implications for the field of broadcast journalism. First and foremost, managers and employees value access education. Investment in access specific employee training can improve not only the quality and depth of news
49 coverage, but it can improve employee sati sfaction. The conflicting data on employee satisfaction and professional trai ning might suggest that employe r training is not up to the level employees expected. Participation in professional training might slightly decrease the desire for additional employer training, but overall there is dissatisfaction with available employer-sponsored training. Second, working broadcast journalists value th e Florida Sunshine laws as a tool of the trade. Opportunities to enhance knowledge are seen as valuable and again, improve employee satisfaction. Indeed, these opportuniti es were identified as the primary source of access knowledge. Journalists report usi ng open government records and meetings for information less frequently than other sources. However, this might have less to do with attitudes about open governmentâ€™s value, than it has to do with know ledge in the area. Third, with both managers and employees desiring more training opportunities, work should be done to determine why there is no t more available training in the field. If costs are a factor, perhaps non-profit or pr ofessional organizations can undertake the responsibility of initiating more of this training. In regards to pedagogical implicatio ns, this studyâ€™s suggestions for mass communication are straightforward. College s have an amazing opportunity to reach future journalists. Ninety-five percent of participants hold a college degree and a majority of those degree holders identify fo rmal education as a main source of their access knowledge. In this study, 40% of the Florid a participants also earned their degree in the state. Therefore, college program in broadcast journalism mi ght be well served to implement formal training modules for repor ters that educate and specifically test individual ability to investig ate stories using open government records and meetings. In
50 fact, many colleges offer investigative repor ting courses and perhaps building on this existing curricula might be appropriate. Limitations & Future Research The survey-return rate was only 11.92%. Although this rate was lower than expected, it is reasonable given the nature of the television news business. Broadcast journalists constantly work on deadline and do not have significant opportunity to engage in non-job related activities during the workda y. Employees might have put the survey aside with the best intentions, but ultimately decided not to stay an extra 20 minutes to complete a survey at the end of the day. A lthough some of the correlations show strong statistical significance, the low return rate prec ludes generalization to the state of Florida, much less the national journali stic community. The study wa s also limited by a lack of follow-up after the first round of surveys was mailed. Due to the large survey size, this step was ruled out due to affordability issues. The nature of the data being collected is shaped by the nature of the research instrument. Most of the instrument res ponses are fixed, offering the respondent no chance to elaborate with addi tional information. Also, a survey measures a single point in time. Therefore, future research s hould be conducted using longitudinal survey models, as well as qualitative research methods. Using th e findings from the present study as exploratory materials, the research er plans to conduct interviews and focus groups with broadcast journalists within the stat e of Florida. Future research will focus on some of the issues explored in this questionnaire, incl uding the following: The relationship between manager and employee attitudes regarding training.
51 The source of knowledge that enables reporters to attain the skill set needed to conduct investigations using the Sunshine laws. Future research might also focus on specific Sunshine law knowledge. Although this angle was explored when preparing th e instrument for this study, it may be beyond the scope of a survey about sources of acce ss education and training. However, access law knowledge and competency was self-re ported in this study. There was no measurement of the accuracy of this self-re ported knowledge. The journalists might not actually have the accurate knowledge they cl aim. A survey to determine individual knowledge of the laws might provide valida tion of the results in this study. An informative approach might be to test and contrast access knowledge for recent college graduates, as well as broadcast journalists who have had employer training and those who have not. This would more accurately determine where the information is being acquired.
52 APPENDIX A STATION LIST ID # Station Phone News Dir Address City Zip Part. Att: 001 WBZL 954-925-3939 News Director 2055 Lee St. Hollywood 33020 20 Att: 002 WSCV 954-622-6000 Roberto Vizcon 15000 S.W. 27th St. Miramar 33010 20 Att: 003 WBBH-DT 239-939-2020 Darrel Adams 3719 Central Ave Ft. Myers 33901 20 Att: 004 WZVN 239-939-2020 Darrel Adams 3719 Central Ave. Fort Myers 33901 Att: 005 WFTX 239-574-3636 Geoff Roth 621 S.W. Pine Island Rd.Cape Coral 33991 8 Att: 006 WINK-TV 239-334-1111 John Emmert 2824 Palm Beach Blvd. Ft. Myers 33916 24 Att: 007 WCJB (352) 377-2020 Adam Henning 6220 N.W. 43rd St. Gainesville 32653 20 Att: 008 WUFT 352-392-5551 Mark Leapes 2200 Weimer Hall, UF Gainesville 32611 15 Att: 009 WAMI-TV 305-421-1900 Juan Chacoff 1900 N.W. 89th Pl. Miami 33172 100 Att: 0010 WAWS 904-642-3030 Lynn Hider 11700 Central Pkwy. Jacksonville 32224 40 Att: 0011 WTEV-TV 904-642-3030 Lynn Hider 11700 Central Pkwy. Jacksonville 32224 0 Att: 0012 WJXT 904-399-4000 Mo Ruddy 4 Broadcast Pl. Jacksonville 32247
53 Att: 0013 WJXX 904-354-1212 News Director 1070 East Adam ST.Jacksonville 32202 30 Att: 0014 WTLV 904-354-1212 Mike McCormick 1070 E. Adams St. Jacksonville 32202 Att: 0015 WJXX (904) 354-1212 Mike McCormick 1070 E. Adams St. Jacksonville 32202 Att: 0016 WVIB 305-621-3688 Ricardo Castellanos 16502 N.W. 52nd Ave. Miami 33014 0 Att: 0117 WFXU 850-576-xxx News Director Box 949 Midway Live Oak 32343 0 Att: 0018 WFOR 305-591-4444 Shannon High-Bassalik 8900 N.W. 18th Terrace Miami 33172 45 Att: 0019 WLTV 305-471-3959 Helga Silva 9405 N.W. 41st St. Miami 33178 Att: 0020 WPLG 305-576-1010 steve owen 3900 Biscayne Blvd. Miami 33137 10 Att: 0021 WSVN 305-751-6692 Alice Jacobs 1401 79th St. CausewayMiami 33141 20 Att: 0022 WTVJ 954-622-6000 Evette Myley 15000 S. 27th St. Miami 33027 20 Att: 0023 WOGX 407-644-3535 News Director 1551 S.W. 37th Ave. Orlando 34474 0 Att: 0024 WOFL 407-644-3535 Lena Sadiwyski 35 Skyline Dr. Lake Mary 32746 0 Att: 0025 WESH 407-645-2222 Ed Trauschke 1021 N. Wymore Rd. Winterpark 32854 40 Att: 0026 WRDQ 407-841-9000 Bob Jordan 490 E. South St. Orlando 32801 20 Att: 0027 WFTV (407) 841-9000Robert Jordan 490 E. South St. Orlando 328012841 Att: 0028 WKMG 407-291-6000 Skip Valet 4466 N. John Young Orlando 32804 20
54 Pkwy. Att: 0029 WMFE 407-273-2300 Pat Diggins 11510 E. Colonial Dr. Orlando 328174699 20 Att: 0030 WJHG 850-234-7777 Joe Moore 8195 Front Beach Rd. Panama City Beach 32407 17 Att: 0031 WMBB (850) 769-2313Larche' HardyBox 1340 Panama City 32402 10 Att: 0032 WWSB 941-923-8840 Kay Miller 1477 10th St. Sarasota 34236 18 Att: 0033 WCTV 850-893-6666 Mike Smith Box 3048Tallahassee 32315 17 Att: 0034 WTWC 850-893-4140 News Director 8440 Deerlake Rd. SouthTallahassee 32312 20 Att: 0035 WTXL 850-893-3127 Steve Rollison 8440 Deerlake Rd. SouthTallahassee 32312 Att: 0036 WFLA 813-228-8888 Forrest Carr 200 S. Parker St. 33606 20 Att: 0037 WFTS (813) 354-2828Bill Bera 4045 N. Himes Ave. Tampa 33607 20 Att: 0038 WTSP 727-577-1010 Lane Michelson 11450 Gandy Blvd. 33702 20 Att: 0039 WTTA 813-886-9882 Tracy Mallea 7622 Bald Cypress Pl. Tampa 33614 7 Att: 0040 WTVT 813-876-1313 Phil Metlin 3213 W. Kennedy blvd. 33609 40 Att: 0041 WPBF (561) 694-2525Joseph Coscia 3970 RCA Blvd. Suite 7007 Palm Beach gardens 33410 20 Att: 0042 WFLX 561-845-2929 Bebe Nwovick 4119 W. Blue Heron Blvd. West Palm Beach 33404 20 Att: 0043 WPEC 561-844-1212 Bebe Novick Box 198512 West Palm Beach 334198512 20
55 Att: 0044 WPTV 561-655-5455 Peter Roghaar 100 Banyan Blvd. West Palm Beach 33401 20 Att: 0045 WNTO William Boliver 523 Douglas Ave Altamonte Springs 32714 Att: 0046 WEAR (904) 456-3333Peter Neuman 4990 Mobile Hwy. Pensacola 32506 0 721
56 APPENDIX B SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE Survey of Working Television Journalists in Florida 1. Job Title _____________________________________________________________ 2. Market Size (please circle) 1-10 11-25 26-50 51-100 101-150 151-212 unknown 3. Years of experience in television news _______ 4. Years of experience in journalism ___________ 5. Highest level of education completed: (p lease circle highest degree, then write in relevant major course of study in blanks provi ded. If more than one degree applies, for example masterâ€™s degree and Technical schoo l/training, please circle both degrees that apply) High school __________________________ Some college _________________________ College ______________________________ Some post-graduate work ________________ Masterâ€™s degree ________________________ Ph.D. ________________________________ Professional degree _____________________ Technical School/Training _______________ 6. How were you educated in the practice of journalism? For each category, please use the 0-10 scale to indicate the level of value of each source of educati on. Circle the best response for each source. Zero means the s ource was of no value. Ten means the source was very important. School 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Formal Employer-training 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Learned on the job 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Other________________ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 No importance ---------------------------Very important 7. Which source MOST influenced your knowledge of the access laws for Florida journalists? For the purpose of this survey, â€œaccess law(s)â€ refer to the Florida Government-in-the-Sunshine statutes prov iding access to government meetings and records. Please circle one:
57 Education Job Training Personal experience Other______________ 8. Please rate the level of importance that e ach source below played in influencing your knowledge of access laws. Zero means no im portance. Ten means very important. Please circle the number for each source th at best represents your response. School 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Work 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Employer Training 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Trade Organizations 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Workshops/conferences 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Self-Learning/Research 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 No importance ---------------------------Very important 9. Please read each of the following statements and indicate whether you: SD= Strongly disagree, D=Di sagree, DS=Disagree Somewhat, U=Undecided, AS=Agree Somewhat, A=Agree, SA=Strongly Agree I feel that current journa list training, in regards to access laws, is adequate. SD D DS U AS A SA I feel that I am knowledgeab le about Florida access laws. SD D DS U AS A SA The majority of my knowledge in th e area of access was acquired through formal education. SD D DS U AS A SA On the job training was the main source of my knowledge in access laws in Florida. SD D DS U AS A SA My employer, or previous employer, provi ded adequate training in the area of access. SD D DS U AS A SA Knowledge of government access issues is critical to good journalism. SD D DS U AS A SA 10. How often do you work on stories that involve using your knowledge of access rights to collect information for a story? Please indicate the number of stories on
58 EITHER a monthly or yearly basis. In the blank, write the nu mber of stories you worked on in that time period. Monthly ________ Yearly _________ 11. Please use the scales below to indicate the level of importan ce of each of these sources in collecting information for news reports. Zero means the source is of no importance. Ten means very important. Pl ease circle the number for each source that indicates your best response. Wire copy 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Community involvement 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Interviews 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Government records 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Government meetings 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Press releases 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Official sources 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Personal contacts 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 No importance ---------------------------Very important 12. Please read each of the following statements and indicate whether you: SD= Strongly disagree, D= Disagree, DS=Disagree Somewhat, U=Undecided, AS=Agree Somewhat, A=Agree, SA=Strongly Agree Upon completion of my highest level of education, I was expected to have working knowledge of the laws that prot ected a journalistsâ€™ right to access information and attend open government meetings? SD D DS U AS A SA Broadcast journalists receive adequate educat ion in the area of access while in college. SD D DS U AS A SA I am satisfied with the level of formal educati on I received in the area of journalistsâ€™ legal rights while in college. SD D DS U AS A SA I am satisfied with the level of formal education I received in the area of accessing government meetings and records while in college. SD D DS U AS A SA Formal education in the area of access is critical to the edu cation of journalism students. SD D DS U AS A SA There is a move in television news to wards more issue-oriented, community
59 Journalism. SD D DS U AS A SA Professional training in the area of access law is important for working broadcast journalists. SD D DS U AS A SA It is not necessary for a broa dcast journalist to have a f unctioning knowledge of the laws that protect access to governme nt meetings and records. SD D DS U AS A SA There should be more employer-training in access issues. SD D DS U AS A SA There should be more formal-educationa l training in the areas of access. SD D DS U AS A SA The Florida Sunshine Laws are an importa nt tool in protecting the rights of Florida journalists. SD D DS U AS A SA I feel my current level of training is adequate to pur sue investigative stories. SD D DS U AS A SA I would like more training in the Florida Sunshine Laws. SD D DS U AS A SA Upon being hired at my current position, my employer expected me to have working knowledge of the laws that protect a journa listâ€™ right to access information and attend open government meetings. SD D DS U AS A SA My employer provided training in the laws that protect a j ournalistsâ€™ right to access information and attend government meetings? SD D DS U AS A SA 13.What is the number one challenge facing journalists today? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 14. What is the number one chal lenge in regards to access? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 15. Year of birth ____________________
60 16. If you have a college degree, in what st ate did you attend college and receive your degree? ______________________________________ 17. Is there anything else you w ould like to add? Please use back of this page if you need more space. _______________________________________________________________________
61 APPENDIX C INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWS DIRECTORS Dear News Director, Enclosed, please find the statewide access su rvey that I discusse d with you by phone. Below, you will find some helpful suggestions for best distributing the survey to your staff. I would like to thank you once more fo r agreeing to participat e in this important research. This packet includes surveys with attached SASE. Once distributed to your staff, you will not need to do anything else except notify them of the surveyâ€™s arrival. The survey should be distributed to all re porters, anchors and producers, as well as news directors and executive producers. It might be helpful to send your staff an e-mail to alert them the survey is being distributed or you could mention it in th e morning meeting. You can assure your staff that the survey results are confid ential and the SASE will enable them to individually return their su rveys at their convenience. The surveys can be placed in the staffâ€™ s individual mailboxes, if that is most convenient. If additional copies are needed, please feel free to duplicate the survey. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (352) 514-6756. If you would like a copy of the results of this study, please notify me by e-mail at email@example.com.
62 APPENDIX D INFORMED CONSENT RELEASE College of Journalism and Mass Communications Graduate Division Weimer Hall University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 32607 (352) 514-6756 Dear Broadcast Television Journalist: I am a graduate student in the Telecommunications program at the University of Florida. As part of my thesis research, I am conducting a survey, the purpose of which is to learn about how journalists are educated in the area of access to government records and meetings. I am asking you to participate in this survey because you ha ve been identified as a working broadcast television journalist in the state of Florida. Respondents will be asked to participate by completing the survey. The survey should take about 10 minutes and is intended to improve the formal education and on-the-job training of j ournalists in the area of access. The survey is included with this letter. You do not have to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Your survey and the second page of this signed form can be returned using the postage paid envelope that is provided. Only I will have access to the completed survey. Your participation in this survey will be kept confidential to the exte nt provided by law and your identity will not be revealed in the final manuscript. There are no anticipated risks, compensation or other direct benefits to you as a participant in this interview. You are free to withdraw your con sent to participate and may discontinue your participation in the survey at any time without consequence. If you have any questions about this research pr otocol, please contact me at (352) 514-6756 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. John Wright at ( 352) 392-0466. Questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant rights may be direct ed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611; ph (352) 392-0433. Please sign and return this copy of the letter in th e enclosed envelope. By signing this letter, you give me permission to report your responses anony mously in the final manuscript to be submitted as part of my thesis manuscript. Sunny Skye Pemberton I have read the procedure described above for th e Access Education survey. I voluntarily agree to participate in the survey and I have received a copy of this description. ____________________________ ___________ Signature of participant Date
63 APPENDIX E ENDORSEMENT FROM SANDRA CHANCE, BRECHNER CENTER January 29, 2005 Dear News Director, It is with great pleasure th at I write to encourage you to participate in the enclosed survey. Accessing government records and mee tings is an important skill for todayâ€™s working journalists. By systematically ev aluating the current status of journalistic education is this area, we can work togeth er to improve both education and on the job training. Although this survey is not sponsored by the Br echner Center, it is important nonetheless. Please pass the surveys out to your staff and encourage them to participate. This will ensure that your station is accu rately represented in the final study. It will also contribute to the accuracy of the final report. Over 900 surveys are bei ng distributed statewide and it is our hope that the data will serve as a censu s of working broadcast television journalist. As this survey is completed, we are in the final production stages and preparing to distribute Government in the Sunshine . This video will be an electronic supplement to our popular open government guide. If you w ould like to be on the advance list to receive this complimentary video, please co ntact the Brechner Cent er at (352) 392-2273. Sincerely, Sandra Chance Esquire
64 LIST OF REFERENCES Alridge, R. (1992). J-schools could put themselves out of business. Electronic Media , 30. Altschull, J. H. (1984). Agents of Power . New York: Longman. Barney, R. (1986). The Journalist and A Plura listic Society: An Ethical Approach. In Elliot, D. (Ed.). Responsible Journalism , 60-80. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Barney, R.D. (1987). Responsibilities of the Journalist: An Et hical Construct. Mass Comm. Review , 14: 3:15. Berkowitz, D. (Ed.). (1997). Social Mean ing of News: A Text Reader, 155-167. Thousand oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Bernstein, J.M., Lacy, S. (1992). Contextu al Coverage of Government by Local Television News. Journalism Quarterly 69, No. 2: 329-340. Blasi, V. (1977). The Checking Value in First Amendment Theory. American Bar Foundation Research Vol. 521: 523-567, 631-649. Bollinger, L. (1991). Images of a Free Press . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Braman, S. (1989). Defining information: An approach for policy makers. Telecommunication Policy ,13(3): 233-243. Coulson, D.C., Riffe, D., Lacy, S., & St. Cyr, C.R. (2001) Erosion of Television Coverage of City Hall? Percepti ons of TV Reporter on the beat. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly Vol. 78, No. 1: 81-92. Cross, H. (1953) The Peopleâ€™s Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings. Columbia University Press. Dennis, E.E. (1987). Journalism Education: Fa iling Grades From A Dean. In Project on the Future of Journalism Education: Pla nning for curriculum change in journalism education (rev. ed.), 80-81. Eugene, Ore gon: University of Oregon School of Journalism. Dickson, T., Brandon, W. (2000). The Gap Between Educators and Professional Journalists. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator , 50.
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66 Medsger, B., (1996). Winds of Change: Challenges C onfronting Journalism Education . Arlington Virginia: The Freedom Forum. Nerone, J. (1995). Last Rights: Revisiting F our Theories of the Press , Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Ostroff, D.H., Sandell, K.L. (1989. Ca mpaign Coverage by Local TV News in Columbus, Ohio, 1978-1986. Journalism Quarterly , 66:114-120. Perry, Linda. (April 2002). Fl orida FOI Survey Finds Know ledge of Law. The Brechner Report,Vol. 26 No. 4. Princeton Survey Research Associates for th e Council of President of national Journalism Organizations and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (2002). Newsroom training: Wher eâ€™s the investment, study. Roper Organizations. (1987). Electronic Media Career Preparation Study, 5. Siebert, F.S., Perterson, T., and Schramm, W. (1956) Four Theories of the Press . Urbana: University of Illinois Press. The Society of Professional Journalists, Impr oving & Protecting Journalism on website at http://www.spj.org/foia_opendoors.asp . Soloski, J. (1989) Sources and Channels of Local News. Journalism Quarterly. 66: 86470. Stempel, G.H. III. (1991) Where People Really Get Most of Their News. Newspaper Research Journal 12: 2-9. Title X, PUBLIC OFFICERS, EMPOYEES , AND RECORDS, Chapter 119 Public Records. Online Sunshine website at http://www.leg.state.fl.us /statutes/index.cfm?App_m ode=Display_Statute&URL=C h0119/ch0119.htm. Title XIX, PUBLIC BUSINESS, Chapter 286, Pub lic Business. nline Sunshine website at http://www.leg.state.fl.us /statutes/index.cfm?App_m ode=Display_Statute&URL=C h0286/ch0286.htm. Voakes, P.S. (2000). Rights, Wrongs and Re sponsibilities: Law and Ethics in the Newsroom, Journal of Mass Media Ethics Vol. 15, No. 1: 29-42.
67 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sunny Skye Hughes was born in 1977 in Santa Fe Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Texas A&M Univ ersity in 1997. Hughes has worked in both public broadcasting and commercia l television news. She comp leted her Master of Arts in Mass Communication at the University of Florida in 2005. Hughes is currently working on her doctoral degree in mass communicat ions at the University of Florida.