Several stories about access to public information have caught my eye in the past week. Whether it involves public health data from Florida, evidence in a federal criminal case or embargoes and favored access at a federal agency, it’s clear that journalists are facing obstacles in ensuring the public’s access to information.
In Rhode Island, a judge ruled in favor of a journalist seeking evidence presented in the trial of a doctor now “serving four life sentences for his role in operating a pain management clinic like a ‘pill mill.'” The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had refused to release the records since journalist Phil Eil requested them after the trial ended in 2011. Continue reading
Last month’s shooting in Orlando in drew attention not only to the city’s gay community but also to limits in how the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community there could respond when it comes to what many do in the aftermath of such tragedies – give blood.
The shooting at the gay nightclub left 49 victims dead. Many in the community sought to donate blood only to run into U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations that call for sexually active gay men to wait a year after their last sexual encounter before giving blood. Continue reading
New federal grants will help safety net clinics across the country to provide more dental care in their communities.
Nearly $156 million in oral health funding will enable clinics in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to employ oral health professionals to provide new or expanded services, federal officials recently announced. Continue reading
This week, 70 San Francisco Bay Area media organizations have banded together to coordinate coverage on homelessness. The goal was to shine a bright spotlight on a pervasive problem that is only growing worse with the skyrocketing cost of living in the region.
The San Francisco Chronicle created a page that collects homelessness coverage from participating news organizations. You can follow coverage on Twitter at #SFHomelessProject. Continue reading
Photo: Ryan via Flickr
As the U.S. struggles to process and grieve yet another mass shooting — this one unique in targeting a minority group (the Latino community) of a minority group (the LGBTQ community) — the media is struggling to cover the massacre responsibly and sensitively without letting the coverage feel like a recycle of every previous shooting.
And there is at least one way they appear to be succeeding: giving less attention to the killer than to the victims. Though research is limited, studies have suggested that this approach is more responsible if one goal is not to inadvertently inspire future massacres. Continue reading