Media Law Resource Center

Serving the Media Law Community Since 1980

Collected Resources for Corona-Related Newsgathering and Access Issues

MLRC Corona Conference Call Series 

FOIA and Access Issues

Newsgathering & Employee Safety

Sample Letters for Media Personnel to Operate During the State of Emergency

Form Letter
Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA

News Media Essential Business Exemption Letter
Diane Kennedy, New York News Publishers Association

Authorization of Movement Letter for "Life Sustaining" Business
(with Pennsylvania Executive Order Attached)
Melissa Melewsky, Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association

Draft Authorization Letter for Review Journal Personnel
Benjamin Lipman, GC Las Vegas Review Journal

Authorities and Analysis

Federal: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
Guidance on the Critical Infrastructure Workforce March 19
Includes: "Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front line news reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering and reporting"

California: Los Angeles County "Safer at Home" order Sec. 13(d)
Essential Businesses include: "Newspapers, television, radio, magazine, podcast and other media services."

Florida: Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 07-20
Sec. 2e: Essential business includes: "newspapers, television, radio, and other media services."

NJ Executive Order No. 107
March 21
Item 19: “Nothing in this Order shall be construed to limit, prohibit, or restrict in any way the operations of newspapers, television, radio, and other media services.”

New York State Executive Order 202.6
March 7
Essential business includes "news media"

Texas: Shelter in Place Order, Dallas County
March 22
Essential business includes "news media"

Nevada Declaration of Emergency 003
March 20
Essential business includes: newspapers, radio, television and other media services.

Ohio Dept. of Health Stay at Home Order
March 22
Essential business and operations includes: “Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services” and “First Amendment protected speech.”

News Media Alliance Memo
Newspaper Productions and Distribution as Critical Infrastructure

FOIA and Access Resources

Webinar: Fighting for open records during the COVID-19 crisis
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press / IRE
Specific records to ask for to investigate coronavirus response at all levels of government, and resources to help push back against agencies that say they can’t fill requests during this crisis.  How to help ensure government transparency and request valuable information during the COVID-19 crisis 

State and federal FOIA developments Access Templates

Press freedom and government transparency during COVID-19
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

  • Emergency Powers and the Press
  • Open Meetings and Public Records
  • Court Access

11th Circuit Order authorizing oral arguments by audio or teleconferencing
March 20
"[W]here feasible, oral arguments that are not conducted in an open courtroom but instead are done by audio or teleconferencing will be live-streamed to the public at no cost to anyone who wishes to listen.  In any event, recordings of oral arguments will be made available to the public without cost on the Court’s website after the argument."

Tennessee Executive Order 16 on Open Meetings
Allows bodies to meet and conduct essential business remotely by electronic means, but they must make reasonable efforts to live stream to the public; and if not possible to provide audio or video recordings within two business days.
For more info: Tennessee Coalition for Open Government


NPPA's COVID-19 Resource Guide
Safety, mental health, and more

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