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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NH Senate President kicks reporter off Senate Floor

New Media Off Limits in Granite State

(CONCORD) Senate President Sylvia Larsen this morning revoked the press credentials of Josiah Bartlett Center Lead Investigator Grant Bosse, and barred Bosse from filming today's Senate session from the floor, just as the Chamber was preparing to take up the state's two-year $11.5 billion budget.

Bosse had set up a camera and tripod in a corner of the Senate floor reserved for that purpose, next to tripods owned by New England Cable News and WMUR, when he was told by Senate Communications Director Anne Saunders that he would not be allowed to film from the floor. Reporters from the Associated Press, Union Leader, Concord Monitor, and WNTK radio were allowed on the Senate floor. Saunders said that she had originally given Bosse his press privileges because of his work as a radio reporter, but that she was recently informed that Bosse was no longer part of "the media" and now worked for a "policy institute." Bosse was a radio anchor and reporter at WGIR-AM from 1994 to 1996, and a reporter and program director of WTSL-AM from 1996 to 1999.

Asked if the State Senate had a written policy about which reporters are given press privileges and which are not, Saunders said that she didn't know, but that floor privileges are at the discretion of the Senate President. Saunders says that the Senate does not give out press passes. The House of Representatives asks reporters to sign in before each session and receive a "MEDIA" sticker.

Saunders offered Bosse a reserved seat in the Senate Gallery, which had already filled with members of the public awaiting Senate action on both gay marriage and the budget. Saunders said that while Bosse could film Senate proceedings from the Gallery, he would not be allowed to use a tripod for his camera.

Bosse has filmed from the House floor several times this year, and has been covering the state budget process throughout the year. This would have been his first time filming the State Senate from the floor. Bosse is currently attempting to access public travel records from both the House and Senate, and yesterday published an article detailing how an amendment adopted by the Senate Finance Committee could force hundreds of New Hampshire charter school students out of their schools.

Bosse is editor of the Josiah Bartlett Center's NH Watchdog website, which carries his video news reports. He has also been a substitute radio host on WGIR, WNTK, WTPL, and WEMJ.

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