The SEJ WatchDog

The WatchDog TipSheet is a regular 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.

WatchDog is compiled, edited and written by Joseph A. Davis, who directs the WatchDog Project, an activity of SEJ's Freedom of Information Task Force that reports on secrecy trends and supports reporters' efforts to make better use of FOIA.

Journalists can track WatchDog TipSheet items for free by subscribing to the SEJournal Online, the digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists, which will regularly highlight WatchDog news. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here.

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

Latest WatchDog TipSheet Items

October 17, 2007

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Oct. 16, 2007, to create a federal shield law which would offer limited protection for reporters from being compelled to disclose confidential sources.

  • Federal district judge Dee Benson ruled Oct. 9, 2007, that a group of news media companies could not have access to an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) into the Crandall Canyon mine collapse in Utah Aug. 6, which killed six miners and three workers trying to rescue them.

  • Cancer registries, which are part of the public health system help physicians collect statistics on cancer incidence and help pinpoint "cancer clusters" that may be caused by environmental factors. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs a surveillance system, which has a registry of cancer cases in almost every state. But the hospitals in the federal Veterans Affairs (VA) system are now saying they will not share cancer data with state registries unless the states sign restrictive agreements.

  • Paul Wotzka, a hydrologist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, who was fired shortly after he asked permission to testify before the Minnesota legislature on Atrazine pollution of water finally had his say.

  • The Interior Department has proposed codifying its rules on photography, filming, and sound-recording on public lands it administers. Some newsgatherers are worried that the rules would hurt their ability to do their jobs.

  • A federal jury in Toledo may soon be deciding whether some company officials engaged in a cover-up of safety problems at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. Although the story has gotten little national attention, the Toledo Blade's Tom Henry has covered the trial in detail.