Indiana is the latest addition to the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative, which provides local news organizations with direct legal services to pursue enterprise and investigative stories in their communities.
“We are thrilled to expand the Local Legal Initiative into Indiana and build upon the Reporters Committee’s longtime work with journalists and news organizations in the state,” said Katie Townsend, deputy executive director and legal director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Access to legal resources is a vital part of the infrastructure that underpins thriving local journalism, and we are excited to grow our ability to help Indiana journalists defend their newsgathering rights, access public records and court proceedings, and hold public officials accountable.”
The Reporters Committee will hire an attorney to work in Indiana and provide direct pro bono legal support to local journalists and news organizations pursuing enterprise and investigative reporting in communities across the state.
With the addition of a Local Legal Initiative attorney in Indiana, the Reporters Committee will build upon the impactful work its attorneys have previously done on behalf of journalists and news outlets in the state.
In 2018, for example, Reporters Committee attorneys helped WTHR-TV sue a local school district to access public records concerning the suspension of a high school football coach. That lawsuit ultimately resulted in a landmark Indiana Supreme Court decision holding that agencies must provide specific facts explaining why a public employee is suspended, fired, or otherwise disciplined — a ruling that increases transparency across the state. More recently, the Reporters Committee and a coalition of six journalism and news organizations filed a federal lawsuit to block the enforcement of an Indiana law that makes it a crime to approach within 25 feet of a police officer after being told to withdraw.