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The Journal received information from an unnamed source about what transpired in the closed session.
Job offer timeline
Jan. 18 » Retiring city administrator Bruce Leonard approaches Councilman Scott Ericson to gauge his interest.
Jan. 19 » The two speak at length
Jan. 28 » Mayor Dennis Fife calls Ericson to ask whether he is interested.
Jan. 28-Feb. 7 » A series of meetings follows, only in some of which Ericson took part
Feb. 7 » A closed-door meeting ends with no appointment and instead the position being posted publicly
Feb. 12 to 19 » A total of 24 applications are received for the city administrator position
Nelson said he heard that city employees and officials were being pressured to reveal the names of those informants. He and Hales also were told that they could be subpoenaed to disclose their sources. Joel Campbell, a journalism professor at Brigham Young University, emphasized Utah’s shield rule,
Joel Campbell, a journalism professor at Brigham Young University, emphasized Utah’s shield rule,which blocks reporters from having to reveal confidential sources unless "the person seeking the information demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that disclosure is necessary to prevent substantial injury or death."
He also faulted the council for not taking a formal and visible vote to table, deny or approve the appointment.
Kim Mangun, who teaches intermediate reporting classes at the University of Utah, said that with the downsizing of larger media outlets, small community newsrooms are taking on greater significance as they explore their neighborhoods, operate as watchdogs and serve as historians for groups that often go overlooked.
While Hales usually loves his job, he acknowledged that the stress from being so confrontational tied his stomach in knots and led to fierce self-scrutiny.
"I wish I’d been more even-handed in how I worded some things,but I wouldn’t have changed the message of the editorial — that what they’re doing looks bad," Hales said. "The thing that frustrates me is that it’s being painted that we didn’t do our job. That couldn’t be further from the truth."
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