Tag Archives: sunshine week

On the health beat, public records can be a lifeline

Michael Morisy

About Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is the founder of MuckRock, a non-profit that works for a more informed democracy. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe and contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the last of four.

MuckRock, a nonprofit that assists journalists, newsrooms, and others requesting public information, has helped thousands of reporters file public records requests all across America, digging out information from federal agencies and local inspection boards alike.

Time and again, public records break essential stories and shine light on dangerous lapses — but only if someone knows to ask.

Here are some tips on using freedom of information laws to get great stories while juggling everything else you need to get done. Continue reading

New tools aim to help journalists track removal of information from federal websites

Rachel Bergman

About Rachel Bergman

Rachel Bergman is co-founder and director of programs of the Sunlight Foundation's Web Integrity Project where she leads the research and monitoring of federal agency websites.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the third of four.

Government websites are changing the information they supply related to topics such as sexual orientation and women’s health, and the Web Integrity Project (WIP) at The Sunlight Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been on a mission to track those changes. Continue reading

New report on Big Pharma settlements highlights need for tougher enforcement

Michael A. Carome, M.D.

About Michael A. Carome, M.D.

Dr. Michael A. Carome, M.D., is the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. He is an expert on issues of drug and medical device safety, pharmacy compounding, Food and Drug Administration oversight, health care policy, and the protection of human research subjects.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the second of four.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group today released an updated report cataloging all major financial settlements that the pharmaceutical industry has been forced to sign with federal and state governments from 1991 through 2017 for illegal activities.

The report shows a dramatic decrease since 2013 in both the total amount paid and the average penalty. Additionally, it found that state governments have virtually stopped prosecuting pharmaceutical manufacturers on their own initiative and with their own resources. Continue reading

Shining a light on communities through public information

Amelia Nitz

About Amelia Nitz

Amelia Nitz is the communications manager for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides pro bono legal support and resources to advance First Amendment freedoms and protect the newsgathering rights of journalists.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the first of four.

Sunshine Week may be just one week out of the year, but the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press works every day to protect the right to public information. We have seen firsthand the important role that public information plays in producing more complete and accurate reporting on issues that deeply affect our communities –  how taxpayer dollars are spent, if elected officials are acting in the best interests of those they serve, and whether those in government are abusing the power they hold. Continue reading

A week of instruction and inspiration on getting all the facts

Sabriya Rice

About Sabriya Rice

Sabriya Rice (@sabriyarice) is the business of health care reporter for the Dallas Morning News. She’s an AHCJ board member and vice chair of the association’s Right to Know committee.

It’s Sunshine Week!

This annual celebration of access to public information offers seven days packed with panel discussions, workshops and special reporting efforts, organized by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee, which also advocates for transparency and access to information, is joining this year’s celebration with a weeklong series of blog posts to bolster your efforts to get the facts. Continue reading

How AHCJ engages in sustained push for transparency year round

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Sunshine Week logoIn early February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services advertised a telephone question-and-answer session intended for “non-press associated individuals.” Essentially anyone could listen in – except the members of the media. Crazy, right?

But when a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists asked CMS to change the wording of the February invitation, the agency’s press office declined.

Learning of this, Irene Wielawski, chair of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee, immediately contacted Mark Weber, a high-ranking public affairs official at HHS with whom the committee speaks regularly. Weber took action, and within days, a new invitation went out specifying that the call was open to all interested “people,” with no restrictions on the media.

A small victory – but a swift one, and an example of how a sustained push for government transparency can make a difference. Continue reading