Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heading to the Hill With a Purpose

In just about 24 hours, we'll begin a three-day trip to the nation's capital NOT for a social visit. Yes, Washington, DC is my SECOND favorite city (behind my hometown of Richmond, Va.). But, I'm going there this week with a goal of encouraging members of Congress to take a vote to protect journalists and their sources.

Not since the early 90s have I walked the halls of the verious congressional office buildings. As a reporter for THE HILLTOP, Howard University's weekly newspaper on the Local/National beat, I was assigned to cover stories on the Hill.

Now as a subscriber of the print edition of POLITICO, I am given access to what's happening there through this thrice weekly publication (when Congress is in session).

Nearly two decades after my days as a HILLTOP reporter, I'm a full-time journalism professor and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the organization that is leading the fight for the Free Flow of Information Act. As chair of SPJ's Journalism Education Committee, I was asked to participate in this unique opportunity to meet face-to-face on legislation that directly affects the profession I know and love-- journalism.

On Monday and Tuesday, I'll be joining a dozen other colleagues from SPJ in paying visits to members of Congress to talk up S. 488 and H.R. 985.

“Making this visit to Capitol Hill sends a strong message to Congress that we believe America is not a place where journalists should be compelled to give up their confidential sources,” SPJ president Dave Aeikens said.

You can read more about our trip in this media release produced by our SPJ headquarters this week.

Look for updates on this experience starting tomorrow (Sunday).

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