NASW Information Access Summit

Event Date: 
October 16, 2018

In the past few years, many American science journalists have observed that access to government sources and information has become increasingly restricted. This issue doesn't just affect EPA, which has gotten the lion's share of the media attention, but also FDA, USDA, USGS and many other federal agencies. The National Association of Science Writers has identified this tightening of access to our public servants and information as a critical issue for the science writing community.

NASW's information access committee will hold an "Information Access Summit," October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC, just after the upcoming ScienceWriters meeting

At our fall summit, we will bring together science journalists and the public information officers (PIOs), who mediate access to government scientists and information. Panels of experienced journalists and PIOs will speak about barriers to access to scientists who work at federal agencies. We will seek to move past often-unproductive journalist-vs-PIO framings, and work together to identify common values and develop ways to increase the flow of scientific information from government to the public. The ultimate goal is to move toward drafting a consensus vision statement or set of guidelines that science journalists and PIOs can then use to guide future interactions.

To guide us and ensure our meeting is productive, we have engaged a professional moderator, Ross Simons, who has worked with many scientific organizations in the past.

You are invited to join us on Tuesday, October 16, conveniently just after the ScienceWriters meeting, to be part of the conversation. Those who are especially interested in making progress on this issue can also join us on the morning of Wednesday, October 17, when we will get down to the nitty-gritty of drafting a document.

Registration is just $15, which covers breakfast and lunch. The summit will take place at George Washington University, the same venue as the meeting. We will hear from our expert panels in the morning, and then devote the afternoon to a mediated conversation in which everyone's voice will be included. We encourage participation by staff reporters, freelancers, editors and anyone else who is interested in this topic.

More information is available at, and we will be adding agenda information soon. Register using the same system used to register for the overall meeting, or if you are not attending the meeting, register just for the summit. 

If you have already registered for the meeting, you should be able to add the summit using a link in the confirmation email you received. 

Registration is limited so sign up soon!

Event Details