Town Meeting Coordinating Committee meeting (which I missed, but had planned to go just for the photo op):
Photography at Town Meeting: Several non-TM people were conspicuously photographing during some sessions this year, including a Daily Hampshire Gazette photographer, a local blogger, and someone shooting in support of an academic paper. There was concern that these may have been distracting or intimidating to speakers. The committee discusses whether flash photography should be restricted, and whether photographers should be restricted to certain areas of the auditorium to prevent them from interfering with proceedings. The committee agrees to discuss this with the Moderator.
Of course you know who the "local blogger" was; and yes, I'm "non-TM" but did indeed toil almost twenty years in that aging institution. At one point, from my photographer perch, I almost had to revert back to my bar bouncer days to separate an obviously teed off Vince O'Connor from another member a few years older than Vince, who used a speech stopping 'Point of Order' to distract Mr. O'Connor (more so than my camera).
But hey, at least I'm in good company with Carol Lollis otherwise known as "the Gazette photographer".
Now the Middle School Auditorium is, you know, rather l-a-r-g-e and town meeting members are many, and they do sprawl all over the place.
Can you imagine chaining a photographer to a single desk way off in a corner like they do the two reporters at a Select Board meeting? Obviously town meeting is a (occasionally major) public event and its members are, for that brief period, public officials.
Ironically Rockwell's revered illustration (especially by town meeting aficionados) for 'Freedom of Speech' used a local town meeting for inspiration as he captures a member speaking his mind in bucolic Arlington, Vermont during the war years.
But the First Amendment also holds equally sacred freedom of the press. Even more ironic that TMCC discusses these new restrictions on June 6th, a day many aging Americans pause to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of men who charged head long into harms way to defend these freedoms.
Mary Streeter, TMCC member and owner of a town meeting listserve of 153 members--more than a quorum (a violation of Open Meeting Law if not for town meeting being exempt), uses an in-session photo on her website.