Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 14, NO. 6, Pg. 34.
18th Annual Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference
GSB JournalVol. 14, NO. 6April 200918th Annual Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conferenceby Stephanie J. WilsonOn Feb. 29, legal and media professionals from across the state gathered at the State Bar of Georgia headquarters in Atlanta for the 18th Annual Georgia Bar Media & Judiciary Conference. Each year, this ICLE event focuses on emerging First Amendment issues and their influence on the law. Everyone from judges and lawyers to journalists are invited for a full day of panel discussions and small group sessions dealing with the latest topics impacting the First Amendment.
The day began with the first session, "Open Government in Georgia: A Report Card," led by moderator Hollie Manheimer, executive director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. Panelists included Dr. Josh Azriel, Department of Communications, Kennesaw State University; Prof. James E. "Jay" Black, Journalism & Media Studies, Mercer University; Carolyn Carlson, Kennesaw State University; Stefan Ritter, Georgia Department of Law; and Sheila Tefft, director, Journalism Program, Emory University. The panel presented the methodology and results of an extensive survey conducted by a coordinated team of college students representing eight different Georgia colleges and universities.
The survey consisted of students making open records requests at various local and county law enforcement agencies and universities in an effort to foster student respect for open government and to test the agencies' compliance. After each encounter, the students reported their results to a website where the data was collected and analyzed. Overall, 65 percent of the agencies in the study were in compliance.
The second session, "The Atlanta Gold Standard: Lessons for the 21st Century from a Singular High Profile Trial of the 20th," provided unexpected laughs all around. Mark Winne, WSB-TV, proved to be a highly entertaining moderator. The distinguished panel included the Hon. Willis B. Hunt Jr., U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia; Craig Gillen, Gillen Withers & Lake; Arthur W. Leach, attorney; Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Don Samuel, Garland, Samuel & Loeb, P.C. These key participants discussed one of the highest profile and...