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Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

“Any idiot can pick up a pen and a notebook and call himself a journalist – and many of them do.”

A couple days ago the Oregonian ran a follow-up on a story that’s been brewing for a while. The Lake Oswego City Council is drafting an asinine definition of what constitutes a journalist. The brewhaha started when a blogger for Loaded Orygun attempted to sit in on a closed executive session of the city council. Normally, journalists in Oregon are privy to these meetings, although under the agreement that they don’t report on them.

The Lake Oswego City Council wasn’t happy about some uppity blogger trying to horn in on their meeting, hence the proposed definition. This is the current draft of the city council’s requirements to be “a journalist:”

• Regular reporting on the Lake Oswego City Council

• Multiple personnel with defined roles

• Registration with the state Corporation Division

• Reporting “conducted continuously (at least weekly) and permanently”

• Publications or broadcasts that include “at least 25 percent news content”

• Media representatives would be allowed to attend executive sessions if they provide evidence that includes “proof satisfactory to the City Council that the person is gathering news,” along with a press badge, a recently published news article with their byline or an editor’s note on letterhead.

Even worse news from the Big O:

To avoid a patchwork of different city or county media policies, the Legislature might have to enact a clearer definition of “media,” said Paul Nolte, legal services program consultant for the League of Oregon Cities.

Journalists and proponents of free speech should find any attempt by government to define “journalist” unsettling. The first step to regulating and prohibiting is to define. Without a proper definition, it’s hard for the government to get its slimy tentacles around something (to wit: the Supreme Court’s sisyphean attempts to define obscenity).

Also consider: I fulfill almost all of these requirements as a reporter for the Oregon Commentator, yet I’m pretty sure I’m the exact type of person the Lake Oswego City Council (or some similar body) doesn’t want sitting in on their executive sessions. Once they figured that out, there would no doubt be even stricter requirements.

The article also quotes UO journalism professor Kyu Youm, who is a damn fine First Amendment scholar:

“Sometimes, bloggers are now able to provide some wonderful sources of information in addition to what the public may find in the traditional news media,” he said. “I think the information gatherers should not be limited to the traditional media.”

* Headline quote by Sean Scully, freelance journalist

  1. Timothy says:

    Kai – It read an issue of the Enema.

  2. Carly says:

    Who the hell is Kai Davis?

  3. CJ Ciaramella says:

    And yes, I’m always down for a Rennie’s drink-up. Just show up. Odds are good that we will already be there.

  4. CJ Ciaramella says:


  5. Vincent says:

    “Is there an Ironic Sans font?”

    That might actually be the funniest thing you’ve written, Kai.

  6. Gsim says:

    Kai Davis you are a fucking idiot.

  7. Kai Davis says:

    “unironic letters”

    Is there an Ironic Sans font?

  8. Kai Davis says:

    *shrug* Obviously this is a battle I’m never going to win, but that doesn’t discourage me from participating.

    “but in order for anyone to, you know, care”

    But that’s the thing, I don’t care what you think. I appreciate what you think, but I don’t care. I’m not writing the Enema for commercial or financial success. If I break even on an issue I’m happy. I’m writing it because I get joy from the process of creating it.


    My issue was with the connotation of ‘pissing’. TWE doesn’t solely make attacks on other campus newspapers and I wanted to attempt to break that idea.

    “No offense, but people would probably show a bit more deference to your sense of humour if your publication didn

  9. Timothy says:

    Kai – Oh, you can make whatever statements you’d like, but in order for anyone to, you know, care you have to at least be better than the other publications at something. Do you shower regularly? If so you might be able to take the hygiene angle on the Insurgent, but that ground has been covered pretty thoroughly over the years.

  10. Olly says:

    Kai, given that you publish something called the “Weekly Enema”, I think that wall of text taking issue with Tyler’s use of the word “pissing” was kind of an unnecessary rear-guard action.


    “If I have to retract one thing I

  11. Vincent says:

    You’re still not funny.

  12. Kai Davis says:


    (a) What is the siren? I’ve never heard of that on campus.

    (b) The OC does have standing on campus that TWE does not have and may never have. That should not prevent us from making what claims and comments we have against the other papers on campus.

    You do not and should not need to be a part of the ‘old-boys’ club to make a comment about the other papers on campus. I’ll reference my preceding post to point out that what comments we have made towards the OC and the ODE are far from pissing.

  13. Kai Davis says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but TWE hasn’t really been pissing about how all the other papers suck.

    Issue #1 we said that the ODE was ‘like a mini Register-Guard but with more sports coverage.’ and that the OC ‘is in serious need of a copy editor, a designer, and someone who is actually funny.’

    In issue #4 we repeated the comment about the ODE and said that the OC ‘has some really awesome people working for it who, thanks to the power of print and the Internet, manage to come off as huge douches. Not unlike ourselves, actually.’

    This isn’t pissing about other papers.

    The ODE does lack exciting stories and I do think of it as register guard jr. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s my opinion, and the supporting evidence is right in front of your eyes. But that said, they have won awards. They have tons of respect. I don’t think that TWE will win any awards or gain respect in the world of journalism like the ODE has. I respect them for their accomplishments and their commitment to the paper, but the paper does read as being washed out. It doesn’t grab me. I still respect it.

    The OC does need a designer, and *maybe* someone who is funny. But that isn’t your thing, you’re the conservative journal, not the humor paper. The copy editor comment was a lame shot, but when we wrote that we did feel that the editing was lax. As is TWE’s. We’re working on it and I have been impressed with the quality of the OC’s blog and print edition the more I read it. If I have to retract one thing I’ve said, I’ll retract the statement about the OC needing someone funny on staff. It wouldn’t hurt, but it isn’t needed.

    I wouldn’t call this pissing. You might. That’s fine and great. TWE does not have a reputation to stand against when making these comments, but this isn’t pissing. We’ve taken shots at you, you take shots at us. I highly respect the OC, the ODE, and all the other campus newspapers. Out of that respect I feel I can make critical statements. TWE isn’t better than the other campus newspapers, I use the other papers on campus as a yardstick whenever we print an issue and I’ll be the first to say that we have come up short every time. But we keep trying.

    The OC is an excellent blog and newspaper / magazine. I don’t have the conservative views that it does, but I read every post here and every copy of the OC I can. I’ve even started glancing through the back issues in the archive. I’m impressed with what you guys do. I’ve said it once before, but it deserves repeating. The OC was part of the inspiration to (re)launch TWE on the U of O campus.

    If the two statements we’ve made in print are ‘pissing about how other papers suck’, then I stand by them and will continue to do so.

  14. Timothy says:

    Lee – To be fair the Review is a lot better than I remember. I’m holding the line on the audience, though.

    EDIT: To add to Tyler’s point: The OC has pretty good standing to beat up on, say, the Voice, the Siren, the Insurgent, the Weekly Enema and to some extent the ODE (although to be fair putting out a daily is hard work and the ODE guys do it pretty well for college). Probably can’t have too much to say about the NYT.

    The Enema seems to have standing to mock…well, maybe the Siren.

  15. Kai Davis says:

    “Kai, dude, she posted a link to her newspaper

  16. T says:

    Kai, dude, she posted a link to her newspaper’s Web site. Read it. Form an educated opinion, instead of using this shitty, uninformed, scattershot approach to media criticism.

    And think of it this way: Perhaps the LO Review isn’t interesting to you because you don’t live in Lake Oswego. Golly that, eh? You mean you don’t care about sewage rate increases in an upper-middle class subburb? What a damn surprise!

    I’m sure you have a long career as a beat reporter ahead of you, if your awesome Weekly Enema is any indication of your news gathering prowess, so here’s some career advice: As a city council reporter for a community newspaper, you generally can’t scream “BULLSHIT, YOU ASSHOLES” every 10 seconds like a tourettes patient off his meds (nor can you perform the written equivalent).

    Just keep that in mind before mindlessly bemoaning the state of some small community paper you haven’t read. Sorry to go on a diatribe; I just don’t think you have any authority to be critical.

  17. Kai Davis says:


    Would you like to engage in a discussion? I’m sure these comments will be hostile towards you, but I would see it as a large positive if you took the time to respond to questions about working on the paper, the content, and how it doesn’t ‘generally just play City Council skin flute for a soccer mom audience.’

  18. CJ Ciaramella says:

    That’s not irony, dammit!

  19. Vincent says:

    Kai Davis Says:
    Your paper lacks anything I find interesting.

    Irony. Amusing.

  20. Kai Davis says:

    Your paper lacks anything I find interesting. I felt a little excitement when I saw a Sustainable Life section, but the latest (and only) article in it was from the 25th of September.

    Maybe it isn’t that *your* paper sucks. Maybe Lake Oswego simply never has had anything news worthy occur.

  21. I am a reporter for the Lake Oswego Review and strongly disagree with the remarks posted above by Timothy. For a better characterization of the newspaper and its work, I would suggest reading it:

  22. Kenneth says:

    I don’t see one element in there other than the words “Lake Oswego” that can justify the glut of class-based comments that are sure to come. Surely Lake Oswego’s city council are behaving badly, but I’m not sure how money has anything to do with it. If you want money-fueled corruption, try the Lake Corp.

  23. Chris says:

    Sounds like a Free Speech Zone.

    Yes, you can attend the meeting, but you have to be in a boat on the lake watching it happen.

  24. Timothy says:

    This is no surprise coming from Fake Lake No Negro, really. The only paper that covers city matters is the LO Review and it generally just plays City Council skin flute for a soccer mom audience.

    I grew up there, trust me on this one.

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