WatchDog TipSheet

Photog Claims Damages from CalTrans, CHP for Arrest, False Report

The California Highway Patrol lied in reports when it violated the First Amendment rights of news photographer Steve Eberhard of the Willitts News by illegally arresting him to intimidate newsgatherers at a protest site in July 2013, Eberhard says in a legal claim against CHP and Caltrans.

FAA Nixes Drones for Journos

Drones might count as new media — and certainly have journalistic uses in covering everything from prairie fires to chemical emergencies. The federal government, which devotes enormous technical resources to spying on its citizens, now says this is illegal. The Federal Aviation Administration issued the ruling, saying there was no grey area: hobbyists can legally fly video drones. But journalists can not. Image: Cade Cleavelin, a science/ag journalism senior at U of Missouri, demonstrates a DJY Phantom quadcopter at the 2013 SEJ Conference in Chattanooga, TN. © Roger Archibald.

Drinking Water Crisis Reveals Knowledge Gaps

You read about the 300,000 West Virginians who don't know if they are drinking safe water — and ask "Could it happen here?" The answer is "You betcha!" Environmental journalists have many tools for discovering drinking-water disasters-waiting-to-happen in their own bailiwicks.

WikiLeaks Exposes Secret Obama Trade Pact on Environment

Corporate lobby groups? Yeah, they can read it. Big campaign donors? They can read it, too. But can the news media and U.S. public read it? — No way! That would be un-American. Welcome to the secretly negotiated trade treaty known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

SEJ, SPJ Urge EPA, CDC to End Press Office Obstacles in Public Health Crises

Reporters scrambling to inform the 300,000 citizens of Charleston, West Virginia, about why they could not drink their tap water, what health threats it presented, and who was responsible faced a stone wall from most of the responsible government agencies in the early days of the crisis.

Secret CRS Reports on Environment Published

Taxpayers' money funds the Congressional Research Service as it produces objective and authoritative reports on issues facing Congress — many on subjects of interest to environmental journalists. Congress, however, does not share these reports with the public who paid for them. Thanks to the Project on Government Secrecy, another batch of the reports has been leaked and published.

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