The SEJ WatchDog

 

The WatchDog TipSheet is a monthly source of story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the United States and Canada.

Journalists can receive WatchDog TipSheet free by subscribing to the SEJournal Online, the digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here

WatchDog TipSheet is also available through the searchable archive below and via RSS feed.

Latest WatchDog TipSheet Items

June 15, 2011

  • Robert Foltz, host of the "Let's Talk" show on WMBS in Uniontown for 10 years, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was fired just moments after a local municipal official said on his show that drilling for gas in the Marcellus shale formation had contaminated the local groundwater supply with bromine.

  • New documents, released only after a lawsuit, to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility show the White House is telling agencies they can stick with existing practices when it comes to political interference with science — and do just about anything they want.

June 1, 2011

  • In a court agreement filed May 22, 2011, University of Virginia agreed to release documents of former U.Va. researcher/climate scientist Michael Mann. The plaintiff is American Tradition Institute, which raises funds with the slogan "Crush Gang Green and their anti-business allies."

  • Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe reports that White House negotiators from both parties substantially slashed the Electronic Government Fund which "helps finance government sites that track federal data, government contracting, government information technology and overall performance."

  • The vote came on an amendment by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to the defense authorization bill, in response to a draft executive order from President Obama that would require federal contractors to disclose their campaign contributions. The matter remains unresolved.

  • A World Health Organization panel finds cell phone radiation might present a cancer risk , and spotlights ongoing reluctance by the Federal Communications Commission to share publicly all the health information it has on the subject — and possible complicity with industry in hushing the research.

  • If you find using the Freedom of Information Act daunting, try this open government tool conceived by journalist Michael Morisy and start-up guru Mitchell Kotler. It will embargo a journalist's request before story publication.  

May 18, 2011

  • ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten (left) revealed that some of the biggest fracking companies have been collecting extensive baseline data since 2008, keeping it concealed from public knowledge — including denying Duke University researchers the data when asked for it. The withheld data could either exonerate the companies or prove them responsible for pollution.

  • There has been a data renaissance going on at EPA for the past two years, and not all reporters have gotten the news that data-driven reporting has become a time-saver instead of a time-suck.

  • More access was urged for records on oil and gas leasing, government-issued permits and leases related to metal mining, grazing livestock on public lands, harvesting ocean fish, operating chemical plants, drilling for oil, logging, building roads or strip malls, coal mining, filling wetlands, and more.

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