Monica Nieporte and I have started working together as the ONMA prepares for our executive director transition at the end of March when I depart. One of the duties I will miss the most is being first point of contact for legal hotline calls. You know you’ve made a difference when you can provide rapid response for members facing problems that run the gamut from major libel suits to thorny questions involving open records or advertising regulations.
When Tommy Thomason invited me to spend a couple of days at the Texas Center for Community Journalism a few months ago, I was quick to answer. I don’t work in Texas nearly as much as I used to, and I was ready go back to my old home state. (I attended college in Texas back in the day.)
After three generations of Archbold Buckeye ownership by the Taylor family, the newspaper has been sold. Mary Huber, general manager and advertising director, and David Pugh, news editor, have purchased the 113-year-old publication from Ross Taylor, his wife, Sharon, and children Brent and Jania.
The end of the 132nd General Assembly brought mainly good news for ONMA members for three reasons. First, we helped pass good bills or made progress on several of our legislative priorities. Second, several bills that concerned us were made far better because of our efforts.
Libel suits are about to become far less risky and far less common for the press in Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6-1 on Dec. 7 that Ohio's tort reform laws apply to libel, a decision that dramatically reduces the incentive for seasoned lawyers to take on libel cases representing people who claim they have been defamed.
Has any rural journalist has won one of the major journalism-ethics awards? I don’t think so, and if that’s right, such honor is greatly overdue. It is generally more difficult – and can be a lot more difficult – to do hard-nosed, ethical journalism in rural areas and small towns than in metropolitan areas, partly because of the constant conflict that rural journalists must deal with, between their professional responsibilities and their personal interests: family, friends, business relationships and so on.
It’s lame-duck time, the period between an election and the seating of a new legislature when just about anything can happen to a pending bill and sometimes does. The drama will unfold in the Ohio Legislature for at least one more week.
Some of you will remember Facebook. If you’re over 40, you probably visit Facebook on a regular basis. If you’re like most of the college students in my life, ask a parent or older friend. They can tell you about it.
Today the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in Wayt v. DHSC, LLC, that claims of defamation fall under the $250,000 cap for noneconomic damages. The ruling reverses a $1.55 million award Ann Wayt received from a Stark County Common Pleas Court and remands the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.