New Jersey Herald

The New Jersey Press Association is reacting to a proposal that would repeal a law requiring hospitals to have public meetings each year.

NJPA Executive Director George White tells the New Jersey Herald that killing the meetings "eliminates that opportunity of dialogue between the hospital and the public."

The hospital association says the meetings are a waste of time:

A spokeswoman for the hospital association, contacted by the New Jersey Herald, said the meetings are poorly attended and do not justify expenses — including required legal advertising, refreshments, use of facilities and staff overtime — averaging about $3,000 per event.

Try not to enjoy too much the spectacle of a hospital complaining about the high cost of an unnecessary procedure -- as debate swirls about public records after a suburban New York newspaper published a gun map, it's worth considering how taxpayers use the data they have a right to know about. Hospitals, an association spokesperson told the New Jersey Herald, "already are very well-equipped to hear concerns from the community."

Related: Publishing public records "is a discrete act, separate from whether something is public or not," David Carr writes. The Journal News' gun-permits map shows that "data needs to be looked after and shaped in the same way that news articles are."