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In a strongly worded April 9, 2014, letter by SEJ Executive Director Beth Parke and SEJ WatchDog Project Director Joseph A. Davis, SEJ urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to apologize to the Toledo Blade and direct military employees not to let such illegal actions happen again: Blade journalists Jetta Fraser and Tyrel Linkhorn were detained March 28, 2014 by military police in a public area outside the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. Fraser was held in handcuffs, and military police threatened sexual violence against her.Region:
U.S. Capitol officials apologized for the brief detention March 28, 2014, of BNA energy reporter Ari Natter, effectively conceding that such incidents should not occur. Apologies came from both Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer and Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine in separate e-mail responses to an April 8 letter of complaint from SEJ.Region:
Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine responded April 10, 2014, to SEJ's letter complaining about the brief detention of BNA energy reporter Ari Natter on March 28. In an e-mail, Dine said: "some of the most important things we do is protect the rights of citizens to express themselves and protect the freedom of the press as we go about our duties protecting and serving the legislative process."Topics on the Beat:Region:
The Society of Environmental Journalists has written Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, condemning "in the strongest terms" the treatment of two Toledo Blade journalists March 28 by military police outside a Lima, Ohio, tank plant. The journalists were on public property when they were detained by military police. Photographer Jetta Fraser's camera was confiscated, even though she was taking pictures of what was in plain public view.Region:
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In this issue: SEJ prez Hopey on access issues; ways climate will make news in 2014; Ken Ward Jr. on the art of covering the WV MCHM spill; local meetups bring networking home; getting the most from conferences; teaching news innovation; how good audio gives life to your enviro storytelling; Q&A with "Last Ocean" author John Weller; book reviews; and the annual Sundance Festival review.SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:
An extensive Associated Press analysis of Freedom of Information Act performance, based on legally required FOIA reports and statistics, was just one of many this week. Other Sunshine Week coverage also tried to take a broad view of how the federal government was doing on the openness front. Spoiler alert: not so good.
Some major U.S. journalism organizations are increasingly fed up with federal public affairs offices acting "more like prison guards than gate-keepers." The latest outbreak of frustration was at a March 19, 2014, panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Read comments by panelists — who agreed that the situation would not get better without organized and creative pushback from journalists.
It was a crisis. Charleston, WV, residents had just been told not to drink city water because of a chemical spill upstream of its intake. It would seem routine to call the US EPA and ask for information or comment — and that's just what prize-winning Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr. did. He waited a week for EPA to get back to him on the record. SEJ wants to know why such communication delays at EPA have become the norm.