In honor of Sunshine Week, which began March 14, the WatchDog serves up a meaty list of essential resources for journalists working to expose governmental secrets voters and taxpayers have a right to know about.
- SEJ Publication Types:Region:Visibility:
SEJ wrote White House Communication Director Dan Pfeiffer asking for an end to the practice of requiring permission from the press office at federal agencies before reporters can talk to federal employees — and requiring Saddam-style PIO "minders" to sit in on interviews.
Jim Morris of the Sunlight Foundation reports on the Project on Government Oversight's (POGO) so-far unsuccessful efforts to FOIA the data.Topics on the Beat:
John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation has been tracking the Federal Communications Commission plan.
Various trackers are sorting through and compiling ideas, comments, and agencies' progress towards meeting the deadline.
A former Occupational Safety and Health Administration official requested the data under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005, but was denied. He sued, won in 2007, and now has the data, but OSHA has still not released the data to the public.
Monongahela National Forest's public affairs officer recently directed employees there that, if contacted by national reporters on any issue or local reporters regarding national issues, they "cannot talk to the reporter"and suggested that the instructions came from "our Washington office."
EPA, Interior, DOE, USDA and others now provide "clearing points" intended to engage the public in their efforts for greater public transparency, participation, and collaboration, and in development of an "Open Government Plan."Topics on the Beat:
A court case involving a 1971 NY law may force manufacturers to make public unlisted toxic chemicals in products like stain remover, dish soap and laundry detergent. The cleanser industry says the action is "unwarranted, and that fears about health risks are misinformed," according to the AP.
An Online Quill article by David Cuillier offers advice from William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and co-author of “Getting to Yes,” to effectively help reporters move from defeatism to successful disclosure.