The SEJ WatchDog Alert

The WatchDog Alert (formerly WatchDog TipSheet from 2008-2019) was 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 was 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.

Topics on the Beat: 

Latest WatchDog Alert Items

July 20, 2016

July 6, 2016

June 22, 2016

  • Don't get us wrong: the U.S. federal government's openness to public scrutiny leaves much to be desired. Still, it's worth noting that some improvements have taken place. Here are a few prominent ones. Image:

  • FOIA reform: it's all over but the shouting — and the implementation. The package of amendments to FOIA features codification of the "presumption of openness," would establish a single online federal portal for FOIA requests and strengthen the role of the Office of Government Information Services. Image:

  • Overall goals of the new draft plan are to make all government data and information open by default and to eliminate all fees except for an initial $5 filing fee. The Canadian government invites comments on the plan before June 30, 2016.

  • Journalism may finally be ready to stride into the brave new techno-world of drone reporting now that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a regulation removing the previous cloud of illegality and uncertainty. It's just the beginning.