Eighteen journalism, photography, and First Amendment groups on October 1, 2014, wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell opposing the proposal to finalize a directive requiring permits for "commercial filming" in Forest Service Wilderness areas. Tidwell has already said the USFS does not want to restrict journalism on wilderness lands, but the groups seek changes to regulatory language that would make this clear. SEJ is one of the groups.
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After proposing a directive that seemed to require permits and fees for journalists working in U.S. Forest Service wilderness lands, the USFS announced that it had never intended the restrictions to apply to journalists. Tim Wheeler, chairman of the Society of Environmental Journalists' Freedom of Information Task Force, talked with USFS Chief TomTidwell to clarify the USFS position. Here's his report.Region:
Three major journalism groups held a joint convention in Chicago September 15-17, 2014, which included a panel discussion on Obama administration secrecy. News industry leaders used the occasion to point out that the Obama administration's deeds and practices did not match its claims of transparency.
As a nationwide newspaper chain probed safety threats posed to the public by gas pipelines, an Alabama court imposed prior restraint on the Montgomery Advertiser, to prevent it from publishing the Alabama Gas Corporation's safety plan, citing homeland security and trade secrets. Now a judge has ruled that the court erred in granting a temporary restraining order.
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking to harden rules that would require a journalist to get a permit and pay a fee of up to $1,500 in order to report inside a federal wilderness. [Update -- 9/25/14: Forest Service Chief Tidwell says media don't need permit]Region:
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded belatedly on August 11, 2014 to 38 journalism groups, including SEJ, that had complained on July 8, 2014, about Obama administration press offices blocking journalists' access to federal officials. But it was a "non-response," according to SPJ president David Cuillier.
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"Inside Story" editor Beth Daley interviews Tampa (FL) Bay Times' Ivan Penn about his reporting on nuclear power, including the closing of the Crystal River Nuclear Plant, problems with cooling tubes at another facility and the risk to ratepayers for new nuclear power generation in Florida. Photo: Cooling towers at Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida. © Maurice Rivenbark, Tampa Bay Times.SEJ Publication Types:
In this issue: Covering the environment, health fallout of unexploded ordnance; special report on risk and resilience/lessons from Louisiana on the realities of coastal iving; freelancers and fellowships, a path for growth; utilizing the National Weather Service to track storm intensity; tapping the environmental journalism 'power grid'; book reviews; and classroom research on long-term relevance of front-page stories.SEJ Publication Types:
A sloppily written provision that could have opened the door wider for federal land managers to charge fees or require permits for news photography died in the Senate July 10, 2014, along with the "Bipartisan Sportsmen's Bill" to which it was attached. SEJ and other media groups had objected to the language. According to the AP, the bill "would have opened more federal lands to hunters and other sportsmen, increased funds for shooting ranges and blocked government curbs on bullets and fishing gear containing lead."