While issues like climate change have gained little traction in the presidential race, environmental topics are playing a clearer role in some congressional contests, as well in statehouse and local elections. At the same time, a number of controversial ballot initiatives are tackling environmental topics ranging from plastic bag bans to solar energy. Get info and resources in our Election 2016 Issue Backgrounder.
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The Paris Agreement took effect Nov 4, followed by the start of the United Nations meeting on climate change this week in Marrakesh. Can't go in person, but still want to track the critical issues at stake? TipSheet offers a guide on how to report Marrakesh from home.SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Region:
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A promising new resource has begun helping reporters trying to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry loose government information relevant to their stories. The "FOIA Wiki" is a collaborative and explanatory collection of information meant to help you.Topics on the Beat:
Investigative journalism is hardly about paper documents anymore. The cutting edge today is more likely to be requests for emails, as well as text messages, chats and other electronic communications such as Slack. This big challenge was front and center at the recent meeting of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
In addition to nuisance smells, confined animal feeding operations (aka CAFOs) can present serious air and water pollution problems. They are weakly regulated. Now a federal appeals court says information on who owns those feedlots can be kept secret. Image: © Clipart.com.
Should a federal agency be able to tell a science reporter whom they can — and can't — interview? The issue exploded in September with publication of a deeply reported piece on the "close-hold embargo" by Scientific American. Photo: © Clipart.com.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest (pictured) highlighted a few of the Obama administration's steps forward on openness in an Aug 30, 2016, letter to the New York Times. But transparent? Not so much, according to many journalists in the trenches, and a large number of news media and journalism groups who have asked for more from the White House and not heard back.Topics on the Beat:
Is text messaging compatible with open meetings? Courts have for several years upheld the notion that texts can be public records. The problem, of course, is knowing about them — since they are less visible than meeting minutes. Image: © Clipart.com.
Journalists are sometimes competitive — and even secretive about the exclusive "scoops" they may be working on, lest their competitors beat them to publication. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is conducting a survey to get journalists' opinions on the Obama admin's proposed release-to-one-release-to-all policy.