The Alaska Press Club board sent a letter to the Governor’s office on Friday, Oct. 9. The letter expressed the concerns journalists across Alaska have regarding the cooperativeness of Alaska’s state leadership.
“In communications with state officials and the governor’s office, our reporters across platforms are experiencing an unprecedented lack of transparency and lack of adherence to generally accepted professional communication practices,” the board writes.
The letter expresses concerns such as the need for questions to be vetted, press conferences held at times that make statewide broadcast difficult, new concepts being introduced without details or written information, stalled public information requests and more.
“Following the resignation of Attorney General Kevin Clarkson in August — and the predictable questions about the incident by reporters on Sept. 1 — Alaska’s democratically elected governor has granted no media availability to reporters aside from one-on-one, subject-specific interviews and appearances on social media, with questions vetted and controlled by the governor’s staff,” the letter reads.
The board is also troubled by a July 30 video Gov. Mike Dunleavy posted on Facebook to undermine the credibility of local news organizations.
The National Governors Association provides guidelines for American leaders. These practices include maintaining credibility and timeliness with the press; dealing fairly with all media; and establishing a positive working relationship with reporters.
“As a candidate, Gov. Dunleavy pledged to restore trust in state government through honesty and transparency; yet his refusal to answer unscripted questions is unprecedented among Alaska governors,” the letter states.
The press club letter asks the governor to return to a civil and professional relationship with the state’s media corps.