The SEJ WatchDog Alert

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

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

Topics on the Beat: 

Latest WatchDog Alert Items

June 22, 2016

June 8, 2016

  • Some commenters say Donald Trump has declared "war on the press." But Hillary Clinton has herself given little access to the news media during the campaign so far. Worse yet, parts of the news media seem to be making the problem worse, by not advocating for press freedom and open information. Profits and ratings have trumped the First Amendment.

  • The draft Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty is still being kept secret from the hundreds of millions of people whom it will affect. It matters for environmental journalists as trade treaties often set up mechanisms for corporations to negate the environmental laws of signatory countries. Image: WikiLeaks.

  • The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which takes money the feds get from offshore drilling and parcels it out to federal, state and local agencies for parks and conservation land, is a goldmine for environmental stories by enterprising reporters. And now InvestigateWest, a non-profit watchdog journalism outlet, has made LWCF sleuthing easier by compiling an easy-to-use database of LWCF grants made between 1965 and 2011.

  • Environmental journalists are not alone in their frustrations with the federal officials who are supposed to help journalists get information about what government is doing. Now the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) has surveyed its members and found the federal government often blocks access to information that health care journalists seek.

  • Senator Charles Grassley's opinion matters because he chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over FOIA. He also sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

May 25, 2016

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