Report: O’Brien vs. Outzen


Well attended meeting – larger than usual. Judges Judge Kim Slevinski Skievaski,Paul Rasmussen, Keith McIver and Michael Allen and State Justice Ken Bell were there.
Mark O’Brien opened with comments about the court system and why he enjoys writing about what happens in the court room.

I opened with my favorite Mark Twain quote: “A newspaper is not just for reporting the news as it is, but to make people mad enough to do something about it.” I talked about the role of media and how this blog has helped the IN become more relevant on a daily basis.

We were asked about moderating comments on and this blog. MOB took the position that the comments were free speech and the PNJ has a disclaimer. Mine is that you have to moderate it or it degrades to name calling.
MOB was asked about his column on Judge Casey Rodgers where he criticized her for giving Mary Ham a lighter sentence. Rodgers’ judicial assistants were there and they were upset that MOB didn’t fairly represent the judge’s reasons for the sentence. MOB replied that it was his opinion and that Judge Rodgers and others were free to write dissenting opinions.

I was held to task over our TOP 50 most influential and powerful people list – why it was primarily male, mostly white. I said part of the reason for the article was to get people talking about power and influence and who really has it in this community. In our opinion at this point in time, it’s primarily white and male. We don’t like it, but that is how we see it.

We were asked about the decline in daily newspaper readership. MOB say it as part of a national trend and that younger adults will eventually become daily newspaper readers as they have children and grow older. I said it’s the content. Young adults are attracted by the content of the daily. It’s something we work on for every issue.

We were both asked about the Access Escambia referendum. Both MOB and I favor it. MOB repeated what I have heard which is that the polling numbers are positive. However, he said he hadn’t run into anyone voting for it. I said that I’m cautiously optimistic. A 20% voter turnout will help it pass.

All in all it was fairly peaceful. The attorneys seem to love it…I got more laughs though.