by Margaret Wright
From the article:
What separates the Compass project from most is its plan for the money: creating a database of records it has gathered, rather than gathering the records in the first place. To reach that goal through Indiegogo, it will need a surge soon—the month-long campaign, which ends Oct. 15, is less than 10 percent of the way toward its target of $9,375. The Compass will receive all funds raised even if the campaign doesn’t reach its target, and the lion’s share will be used to hire a database developer.
A related piece in the CJR series recently looked into complexities surfacing in Colorado where public records of police work, particularly body cam footage, became the focus of accountability measures:
Widespread use of the cameras is a relatively new phenomenon, and there don’t appear to be any disputes yet over access to the footage. But the varying policies being announced around the state are a reminder of something transparency advocates and media watchdogs have often complained about: Law enforcement officials here have broad discretion to withhold information that in other states might be public, and the courts take a deferential attitude to decisions made by local departments.
Discussions regarding the public interest tied to transparency in public security measures extend to other national/international policy realms. A former CIA operative guest-blogged last week at the Freedom of the Press Foundation (a nonprofit “dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government”) in support of a federal judge’s order requiring that recordings of prisoner force-feedings at Guantanamo be released.
It might not be a bad idea to ask whether a policy we can only be comfortable with by keeping it secret and obscuring it with strained euphemisms is such a great idea.
Among other items we’re combing through:
- In an era of an increasingly atomized sense of journalistic authority, what are the pros and cons to the flowering success and ubiquity of first-person narratives?
- Editors at a high school newspaper in Langhorne, PA, were recognized by the ACLU for banning use of their school mascot’s racist nickname and maintaining that ban in the face of pressure from school board members.
- We’re not alone in our quest to meaningfully grapple with the tough questions the world of news media is up against these days, as evidenced by this mini-film Amy Zerba at the New York Times produced for News Engagement Day on Oct. 7.
- An intriguing experimental journalism program at The New School cross-trains news-creators in design fundamentals.
- “Journalists have no choice to fight back,” says reporter Jay Risen, who has also called President Obama the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” And on a related note, here are four “lessons for the next attorney general” suggested by open-government advocacy group Cause of Action.