Government

12 Tips for Getting Around the Press Office

If you expect nothing from the press office, you will rarely be disappointed. Even getting a callback before your deadline is a major feat. Good stories rarely come from a call to the press office, but there are times when you have to call them. Even public affairs professionals admit that good reporters do their best to circumvent the public affairs people. Try these tips!

Are PAOs a Help or Hindrance? Press Club Debates

Journalists of all stripes heard a panel debate: "Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help?" August 12, 2013, at the National Press Club, with unsurprising results. The real news may have been presentation of results of a survey conducted by an assistant professor at Kennesaw State University. To risk summarizing in a headline: things are as bad as SEJ members have complained they are.

"Report: Wildlife Agency Ignored Whistle-Blowers"

"WASHINGTON -- Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe failed for more than a year to discipline two supervisors who retaliated against whistle-blowers at an Oklahoma field office, the Interior Department's inspector general says in a harshly worded letter that accuses Ashe of damaging the agency's credibility and integrity."

Source: AP, 08/02/2013

EPA Staff Report Contradicts Agency's Agnosticism on Fracking

Here's more evidence of why documents should be leaked to reporters: a Powerpoint obtained by LA Times' Neela Banerjee shows EPA's Region 3 staff argued a year ago for continuing its investigation of fracking pollution around Dimock, PA — as EPA HQ announced it was ending its study of Dimock wells. Now there's an echo in Pavillion, WY.

Transparency Remains an Issue As McCarthy Takes EPA Helm

House and Senate Republicans made a big deal over EPA "transparency" while McCarthy's nomination was being held up in the Senate, for 130 days. Then on July 9, 2013, the Senate Environment Committee's ranking minority member said he would drop his filibuster threat because EPA had agreed to some of his demands on transparency.

NIOSH Withholding Locations Where Fracking Sand Threatens Workers

Studies by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health show silica used in hydraulic fracturing of tight oil and gas formations can endanger workers. But a FOIA request seeking to know the sites where workers had been endangered has met with no response, independent journalist and SEJ member Elizabeth Grossman reports. 

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