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Missouri Bar Press-Bar Commission meets, welcomes two new members

Twenty members of the bench, bar, and media attended the annual meeting of the Missouri Press-Bar Commission on Nov. 3, 2023, in Jefferson City at The Missouri Bar Center.  

The commission, comprised of journalists, judges, and lawyers, was formed in 1972 to improve interactions and understanding between journalists and members of the legal profession. The commission creates projects and programs to better educate the public and encourage cooperation between the press and legal professionals to strengthen service to the First and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. 

The meeting, chaired by commission President Liz Irwin who is executive vice president of media at BridgeTower Media, included a finance report, president’s report, and an update from the group’s special committee on expanded remote public access and redaction requirements. The commission also welcomed two new members, Brook Arnold and Amanda Mendez, who were elected to represent diverse media communities.  

Arnold is vice president and general manager of KOAM News in Joplin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in business administration and human resources. She has dedicated the last decade of her career to creating healthy cultures, developing leaders, and instilling work life balance for her teams. She also serves on the Kansas Association for Broadcasters and is enrolled in the NAB Broadcast Leadership Training Program. 

“Local journalism matters. A lot! Serving on the commission is an active way I can be a voice for journalists and the community at large in protecting our freedoms as Americans,” Arnold said. “I am honored and don’t take the opportunity or responsibility lightly.” 

Mendez is the owner and publisher of Howell County News in Willow Springs. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009, she taught in France for a year and then launched her career as a legal writer. In 2019, Mendez and her husband purchased Howell County News. Mendez also serves as president of the Ozarks Press Association. 

"As a representative of print media, I am very grateful to have this opportunity to communicate the importance of newspapers and local news to the lawmakers and courts in Missouri. I'm honored to represent the Ozarks and the readers who rely on me as their only source of local news,” Mendez said. “The commission has influence across the state and my hope is to be a vocal reminder of the vital role small town news plays in the everyday lives of the people around me."  

Members of the press are also encouraged to utilize the free media resources, including a Media Law Handbook, legal glossary, and News Reporter’s Handbook on Law and Courts. These materials are created by the Missouri Press-Bar Commission and are available through The Missouri Bar’s website.