If you want to write a blockbuster exposé on state and federal subsidies for agriculture and water, the government is not eager to help you. That's what prize-winning journalist Abrahm Lustgarten discovered.
Lustgarten wrote a nine-part series, "Killing the Colorado," for ProPublica which delved into farm subsidies and water policy. But his efforts to get the actual names of farm subsidy recipients from the feds — or individual water users from states — were largely thwarted. Part of the reason is existing federal and state law.
The whole story of how information flows less quickly to the public than money and water flow to farmers is laid out by Ashley Mayrianne Jones in the Society of Professional Journalists' FOI FYI blog.
- "The Flow of Information: Reporting on Water in the West," FOI FYI (Society of Professional Journalists), July 28, 2015, by Ashley Mayrianne Jones.