FOIA: Okay, so maybe the public doesn’t really understand it as well as we might think? | Street Jazz

Friday, March 2, 2012

FOIA: Okay, so maybe the public doesn’t really understand it as well as we might think?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 10:51 AM

When I served on the board of directors of Community Access Television - now known as Fayetteville Public Access Television - we would try to annually have a meeting in which were all taught about the First Amendment (odd, but even public access folk need to be reminded about this on occasion) and the Freedom of Information Act.

. It only took perhaps half an hour to bring everyone up to speed on the subject, then regular board business would resume.

I have been thinking about those board meetings this week, especially in light of the Marilyn Heifner Affair.

Ms. Heifner has been involved with Fayetteville for a long time, and it is only natural that she has her ardent supporters. But it seems to me that perhaps some of her supporters are totally unaware of what the Freedom of Information Act actually is, or what it means to society as a whole.

For these supporters who have taken the time to write letters of support - or simply grouse on the street or on the bus - the chief villain of the piece is the Northwest Arkansas Times, a paper with whom Heifner played fast and loose with the facts.

That this doesn’t even bother some in the community means that there is, as always, more work to be done in educating people, so that they know the FOIA helps them whether they themselves use it personally or not.


On the Air with Marshall Mitchell

Singer/Songwriter Marshall Mitchell will be my guest next week. Like all singers before him, he wisely decided not to ask me to join him in a duet on the show.

Marshall Mitchell has been entertaining Northwest Arkansas audiences, both young and adult, for a long time. A member Arkansas Arts Council, he has sung in schools as part of the "Arts on Tour" since 2000.

Those interested in learned more information about him, or listening to some of his music, can go to his website:

Show days and times:

Monday - 6am/6pm
Wednesday - 6am/6pm
Friday - 6am/6pm

Fayetteville Public Access Television is shown on Channel 218 of the Cox Channel line-up in Fayetteville, and on Channel 99 of AT&T’s U-Verse, which reaches viewers from Bella Vista to Fort Smith.

Fayetteville Public Access TV can also be seen on line at:


Quote of the Day

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. - John Steinbeck

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