Story of Gannon/Guckert raises ethical questions Charlie Savage and Alan Wirzbicki first reported on Feb. 2 in the Boston Globe about the questionable journalistic credentials of former Talon news reporter Jeff Gannon, whose news organization allegedly was backed by a conservative Web site, GOPUSA.com.
CIA not exempt from FOI rules The Central Intelligence Agency lost its bid to withhold documents from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups. The CIA argued the documents were “operational” and thus not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
British report calls for more openness British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office was criticized in an independent review of the government’s communications operations Jan. 19. The office should commit itself to holding White House-style briefings to bring greater openness and help counter public cynicism about politics and the media, the government-commissioned review said.
High court takes on Cheney energy case The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in December to hear the Bush administration argue that it does not have to reveal who helped shape energy policy as part of Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force.
USA Today questions reporter’s stories USA Today correspondent Jack Kelley, an award-winning international journalist who risked his life covering war zones around the world, resigned Jan. 6 after the paper’s top editors questioned whether some of his stories had been fabricated.
Hispanic audience attracts advertisers Hispanic-geared magazines posted an average 24 percent jump in ad revenue in 2003, far exceeding ad growth in general market publications, Ft. Lauderdale’s Media Economics Group said. Preliminary 2003 estimates show that 58 magazines netted 11,230 ad pages, up by 6.5 percent from 2002.
Principal censors critical editorial A Durham, N.C., high school principal ordered his school’s student newspaper to remove an editorial questioning why the relative of a nominee for homecoming queen was allowed to help count votes. Principal Larry McDonald of Southern High School said he believes the newspaper should promote positive viewpoints of fellow students and encourage others.
Appeal for Earnhardt photos thrown out After a student-run newspaper challenged the constitutionality of a 2001 Florida autopsy law, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Dec. 1 from the newspaper, which wanted autopsy photos of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.
Pentagon criticizes NBC war coverage The story that became a world exclusive for NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski in early November turned into a question of ethics posed by the Pentagon at journalists. Miklaszewski was the only television reporter able to show early television footage of a devastating attack on the al-Rashid, a Baghdad hotel where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.
Court rules settlements are open Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled in early October that a court settlement against a public entity is a public record under the state’s Right-to-Know Act, even when a body such as an insurance company is the sole party to the lawsuit.
Impact of Ashcroft memo debated Nearly half of the U.S. government’s Freedom of Information Act officials surveyed said Attorney General John Ashcroft’s tightening of FOIA guidelines has had little effect on how much information is being released. Forty-eight percent of government officials surveyed by the General Accounting Office, Congress’ watchdog agency, said little effect can be seen following Ashcroft’s 2001 FOIA memorandum, an audit released in September shows.
Photog loses awards over altered entries A Charlotte Observer photographer found himself in hot water in August when the North Carolina Press Photographers Association rescinded three of his 2002 awards after discovering he’d violated an organization’s code of ethics. The photographer, Patrick Schneider, apparently removed the entire backgrounds from some of his winning pictures, a manipulation in violation of the National Press Photographer Association’s code of ethics.
J-schools face funding problems Journalism schools across the nation are coping with heavy numbers of enrollees and one of the worst public financing crises ever. And as journalism students returned to campus this fall, they found fewer teachers, fewer classes and bigger classrooms.
State destroys records in hunt for runaway lawmakers In a one-sentence e-mail order, the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered that all records and photos from a search for Democratic state representatives who left for Oklahoma on May 11 be destroyed.
LA Times fires photog for altering photo A photographer for the Los Angeles Times was fired April 2 for an altered photo of a British soldier and a group of Iraqi civilians. The photo ran on the front page. According to the Times, photographer Brian Walski admitted that he used a computer to combine elements of two photos to improve the composition.
FOIA training video can’t be released A training video instructing staff on how to handle federal Freedom of Information Act requests has been produced by the Defense Department. The only problem with the video: It’s a secret. “It seems ironic, very ironic,” said Mike Ravnitzky, a writer for American Lawyer magazine whose November request to view the video was turned down.