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

June 13, 2012

May 30, 2012

  • Claims of trade secrecy — often unsubstantiated — are a huge barrier to environmental reporters and others trying to find the truth about chemicals that may harm human health and the environment. But the FBI's billboards urge Americans to be vigilant against corporate insiders who may appear suspicious, and presumably to turn them in.

  • The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.

  • The JD said that individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public performance of their duties. It also said police can not seize or destroy such recordings without a warrant and due process.

  • The Ohio legislature cleared a fracking bill May 24, 2012 that increases inspections of wells and requires drillers to hold liability insurance. But Reuters reports: "Many Democrats said the bill paves the way for the industry to hide information about toxic chemicals that could contaminate groundwater."

May 16, 2012

  • After backroom lobbying by gas and oil industry groups, the Obama White House watered down the promised fracking-fluid disclosure requirement promised earlier this year — imposing it only after completion of the fracking operation, when the information may have little effect (such as public pressure on BLM to deny a drilling permit).

  • A Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals helps illustrate how federal agency control of what scientists say to reporters can help the chemical and tobacco industries. By reporter Michael Hawthorne.

  • Environmental reporters with ambitions to do investigative projects using databases will find an enormously rich collection of ideas, tips, examples, and tools in the new book released by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the European Journalism Centre.

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