What journalists need to know: Tennessee open meetings and open records during a pandemic

The East Tennessee and University of Tennessee Student chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists will co-host Tennessee open meetings/open records expert Deborah Fisher virtually on Sept. 30 to discuss access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This virtual meeting will be held from 12 to 1 p.m; access details will be posted closer to the event.

Deborah Fisher

The coronavirus is changing what “public access” is for courts, government meetings and even press conferences.

Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government (TCOG), will bring journalists up to speed on what is happening across the state with open meetings and open records and what journalists should watch for at this time.

As executive director of TCOG, Fisher is a key figure in Tennessee working to improve and preserve access to government information through public records and open meetings laws.

She also is director of the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at Middle Tennessee State University, where she coordinates programs for students and directs and edits the digital First Amendment Encyclopedia.

She has a journalism career that spans more than 25 years and includes being a senior news editor at The Tennessean and editor and vice president of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Fisher is a graduate of Baylor University.