Fake news, open records and the spat between a Colorado senator and a newspaper

Freedom Outlook: How do responsible citizens interact with news media? What does good journalism look like? Is it ever fair to apply the term “fake news” to stories from otherwise reputable media outlets?

These are some of the questions that a panel of media experts addressed March 15 at a forum hosted by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC) and moderated by Kyle Clark of Denver’s 9News. The half-hour event, in which I participated, is available through 9News’s Facebook feed, and I encourage people to listen to the discussion.

Here my goal is to touch on some of the issues we discussed, focusing on a dispute between Colorado Senator Ray Scott and the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction. Jay Seaton, publisher of the Sentinel, appeared on the March 15 panel to discuss that dispute; Scott declined an invitation to join the panel.

Joey Bunch of ColoradoPolitics.com lays out the basic details of the dispute at hand.

On February 8, the Sentinel editorialized in favor of Senate Bill 40, “Public Access To Government Files,” a bill to make it easier for members of the public to access government records. Initially Scott delayed consideration of the bill, and the Sentinel seemed to imply that Scott was acting against its passage:

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