Review of Minnesota Senate media rules

February 20, 2011

Posted by Matt Ehling

Over the past few years, controversy has surrounded the process of credentialing members of the “new media” for access to various parts of the Minnesota State Capitol complex. Individuals and groups from the video collective The Uptake to independent journalist Marty Owings have found themselves carving out new paths as Minnesota’s governmental institutions have adjusted to a multifaceted media reality.

Some – like Owings – have succeeded in obtaining Minnesota Senate floor passes, despite procedural hurdles that made such access difficult in the past. The Uptake has had bouts of friction with the Capitol establishment – to the point where they were denied the rental of office space in the Capitol press area.

In 2009, the House of Representatives also attempted to ban the videotaping of audience members in the House chambers – a ban that raised the ire of the traditional press and new media alike.

With this as background, the Minnesota Senate has convened a working group to craft proposals to overhaul the existing Senate rules governing media access. Current Senate Republican Communications Director (and former blogger) Michael Brodcorb has convened the group, and has invited MinnPost’s David Brauer and blogger Mitch Berg to participate. University of Minnesota professor Jane Kirtley has also been contributing input.

I’ve submitted suggestions of my own, with an eye toward maximizing access for all media – legacy and new alike – and ensuring an even-handed, content-neutral credentialing process.
Find the recommendations here.