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

August 24, 2016

August 3, 2016

  • Journalists are sometimes competitive — and even secretive about the exclusive "scoops" they may be working on, lest their competitors beat them to publication. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is conducting a survey to get journalists' opinions on the Obama admin's proposed release-to-one-release-to-all policy.

  • Transparency is at the core of an escalating confrontation between House Republicans and some state Attorney Generals over Exxon's support for climate change denial. The AGs in July defied a subpoena from the House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith (R-TX, pictured).

  • Consumers learned in late July of a "voluntary" recall of some processed food products due to possible metal fragments in sugar used to make them. The source of the contaminated sugar remains unknown, because federal law protects "trade secrets" — putting protection of companies above protection of the public. Image: © Clipart.com.

  • The news media often defend the freedom-of-information principles that allow them to hold government accountable for their audiences. But will they ask presidential candidates during the 2016 presidential debates how they stand on government transparency? Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (pictured) doesn't do press conferences.

  • Previously secret information about the safety and environmental impact of Enbridge pipeline operations was released in July as a result of efforts by journalist Mike De Souza (pictured), managing editor of the National Observer, and an independent Canadian government watchdog.

July 20, 2016

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