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Officials in Oregon reportedly are seeking to have local journalists investigated for contacting government workers on their personal emails and phone numbers after hours.
Given that the allegations describe relatively routine functions of a reporter's job, the newspaper is not backing down.
Les - Zaitz - Publisher - Editor - Malheur
Les Zaitz, publisher and editor of the Malheur Enterprise, denied any wrongdoing from his staff, after an attorney for Malheur County went to Sheriff Brian Wolfe with the allegations that reporters may have broken the law by using officials’ personal contact information to call and email them outside of business hours.
“Suggesting that professional journalists are behaving as criminals in gathering vital information for the community appears to be an effort to silence and intimidate the Enterprise,” Zaitz said.
Enterprise - Greg - Smith - State - Legislator
The Enterprise had been investigating Greg Smith -- a Republican state legislator and director of the Malheur County Economic Development Department -- over potential conflicts of interest concerning government contracts.
Smith apparently had asked the newspaper to limit requests “to office hours,” and to only email at a designated county address. “It is not appropriate that you are sending emails to employees using their personal email accounts on the weekends,” Smith told the newspaper.
Amid - Objections - Counsel - Stephanie - Williams
Amid those objections, county Counsel Stephanie Williams told the Enterprise that she reached out to Sheriff Wolfe to see “if there is a violation to investigate when a county employee’s phone numbers and email addresses are being used when we’ve asked someone to stop calling or communicating...
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