BREAKING: Ohio Department of Health today declared Media (Newspapers •television •radio) and First Amendment protected speech as “Essential Business and Operations“.
Loveland Magazine has been a member of the Ohio News Media Association since 2014
Statehouse Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor DeWine:
On behalf of the members of the Ohio News Media Association and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, we are writing to request that newspapers, radio and television stations, and professional digital journalists be included as essential services identified in any order you may issue closing non-essential businesses.
Our members take seriously their responsibility to deliver important and life-saving information to our audiences. We appreciate all that your administration is doing to keep the citizens of Ohio informed about the COVID-19 crisis. The daily press briefings have been very helpful to the media in updating our readers, viewers and listeners, and we know that you have done countless interviews with media outlets around as well.
We also appreciate the accommodations you have made during these press briefings to ensure that members of the media are able to maintain social distancing and stay safe themselves. Our member stations and media outlets have been implementing remote working practices and creating appropriate spacing between employees when it is necessary to be in the office. As you know, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” necessary to ensure continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security (https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce). Included among those critical to communications are “workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front line news reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering and reporting.”
We recognize that this DHS document is advisory in nature and that you have ultimate authority over who is defined as an essential employee in any order you may issue for the State of Ohio, but hope you will include these media workers as essential employees. Similar exemptions have been granted in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, San Francisco, and in other state and local jurisdictions that have issued shelter-in-place orders. Moreover, we would appreciate any help you can provide in encouraging local governments and law enforcement to recognize the media as essential.
Thank you for your leadership during these difficult and unprecedented times. Please let us know how we can be helpful to you.
Christine H. Merritt, President
Ohio News Media Association