INBA Board Calls On U Of I To Change Policy

The University of Illinois-Springfield recently told the public radio station, WUIS-FM, located on its campus that its reporters must report alleged sexual misconduct to the university's Title IX office, even if that means violating the confidentiality of a source.

The INBA Board of Directors sent a letter to the University of Illinois, asking them to change this policy. The letter is attached to this post, and the full text is below.

 

To the University of Illinois,

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association stands in solidarity with the journalists at NPR Illinois. We ask that you allow them to work independently and freely as journalists. We believe the journalists should be exempt from your policy requiring university employees to report instances of sexual assault or misconduct they’ve learned about to the school’s Title IX office.

As our attorney, Don Craven, pointed out in an article last week, the university’s counseling employees are exempt from this rule for a legitimate public purpose. Craven said, “We want people to be as comfortable as possible talking to them and for many of the same reasons, we want people to be as comfortable as possible talking to reporters in confidence.” 

While your policy is intended to maintain safety on campus, a journalist’s job is to speak the truth, demand accountability, and give a voice to the voiceless. Victims of sexual assault or misconduct should expect to speak to journalists in confidence so journalists can accurately report on the effectiveness of safety systems in place. 

In addition, the University of Illinois is a public university and holds the license for the public radio station. We hope the university would not hinder anyone’s choice to share their story with the public. By forcing journalists to adhere to your policy, you are taking away First Amendment rights not just from journalists, but from victims too. It should be the victim’s choice whether to share his or her story and journalists should be free to publicize those stories as they see fit. 

The INBA requests that you provide exemptions for journalists in your policy. We thank you for your time and consideration. 

Respectfully, 

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association – Board of Directors

Josh Morgan, President

Brian Moline, Vice President

Tanya Koonce Williams, Treasurer

Rich Egger, Executive Secretary

Rachel Lippmann, Recording Secretary

Laura Trendle-Polus

Rick Koshko

Molly Jirasek

Ryan Denham

Mike Miletich

Margaret Larkin

Dana Vollmer

Sam Dunklau

H Wayne Wilson

University of Illinois_INBA.docx

Bob Roberts

INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.

Ryan Denham

“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Aaron Eades

As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.

Mike Miletich

Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!

Molly Jirasek

One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.

Alexis McAdams

INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.

Jeff Bossert

When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Nora Baldner

The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.

Brian O'Keefe

One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.

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