A forthcoming report by the Union of Concerned Scientists — expected the second week of October 2008 — will provide the most extensive documentation to date of federal agency press policies and their impact on environmental reporting.
Environmental reporters have long complained about how federal agency press offices prevent them from interviewing agency scientists and staff to get information for stories. Press offices from most agencies (but not all) tend to substitute talking points written by political appointees for information, facts, or knowledge of a subject.
The UCS has compiled written press policies from some 15 federal agencies on the environmental beat. When such policies existed, they were often obtained by Freedom of Information requests. Through interviews with reporters, scientists, and others, UCS has also put together a detailed picture of how the various agencies' press offices actually perform in helping or hindering reporters.