The SEJ WatchDog


Searchable archives of the biweekly WatchDog TipSheet's story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the U.S. and Canada are posted here on the day of publication. Journalists are eligible for a free email subscription; send name and full contact information to the SEJ office. WatchDog TipSheet is also available via RSS feed.

Latest WatchDog TipSheet Items

October 19, 2011

October 5, 2011

  • In June 2012, the nations of the world will convene in Rio de Janiero for the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development that set the stage for a number of important treaties, including the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

  • A frustrated Federal Times reporter filed a Freedom-of-Information-Act request for the names and phone numbers of all DHS press officers. When he finally got the 58-page list of names, the agency had blacked out all the work phones, cell phones, and e-mail addresses.

  • The session, before an audience of journalists at the Press Club and another audience online, included representatives of the Columbia Journalism Review, the Associated Press, Politico, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Association of Health Care Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the National Association of Science Writers. The EPA declined to attend.

  • A historian at the National Security Archives made a Freedom of Information Act request in March 2010 to the CIA’s Center on Climate Change and National Security (CCCNS). On Sept. 16, 2011, the CIA finally responded, telling Richelson that all the material he requested was classified and thus exempt from FOIA.

September 21, 2011

  • Details and documents on the 2006 US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement will be released after a federal appeals court ruled Sept. 16, 2011, against claims by the Office of the US Trade Representative that the documents, sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Conservation Northwest, were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

  • A joint investigation by Columbia Journalism Review and ProPublica into the Obama administration's science openness policies offered only faint praise for Obama's accomplishments. Nearly 400 of roughly 2,100 invited journalists responded to their survey, and they gave both the Bush and Obama administrations poor marks for openness at science agencies.

  • Judge Gregory Presnell ruled that the federal Freedom of Information Act did not allow an injunction before the agency itself had made its decision on whether to release the records.

  • Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has reintroduced a bill that would establish a limited federal protection for journalists when prosecutor and courts seek to compel them to disclose their confidential sources. A similar measure died on the Senate floor at the end of the last Congress.