TVNewser Show TVNewser FishbowlNY AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Sort of Serious Stuff

So You Think You Can FOIA?

I can haz government records?

I can haz government records?

We’ve all been there: You spend all night on your F.O.I.A. request -cross every “t”, dot every “i”, spray a little cologne on the pages, put the whole thing in a nice plastic binder -and then ship it all off the next morning, only to wait weeks and weeks and weeks for some record custodian to deny you based on some bulls#!t technicality. Then your whole editorial schedule is blown, and you’ve got nothing to write, so you end up cranking out some casually sexist drivel just to meet your blog post quota for the day, and then someone on Twitter makes you feel bad about yourself, .

SUCKS.

If only there were some workshop you could attend that would teach you “how to submit effective government Freedom of Information Act requests that quickly get results.”

Oh, well, guess what, my friends?? I didn’t put the last part of that previous sentence in quotes for nothing! There IS such a workshop! And it’s being hosted in two scintillating parts by the National Press Club on Monday November 18 and Monday December 2 from 6:30 to 8:00 for the low, low price of $15 per class ($25 for both) for members!

Hot damn, what a deal!

The class is being taught by FOIA Research Center founder Lisette Garcia, and participants will “review case studies and learn how to overcome standard objections raised by U.S. records custodians at local, state, and federal levels. The first session will deal with initial requests, while the follow-up session will focus on appeals.”

Sure, it doesn’t sound as sexy as a Drone Summit, but it does seem more useful. And less deadly.

 

 

Oh Great, Now the First Amendment’s Gone Too…

Supreme CourtAnyone who’s been in DC long enough is intimately familiar with the government’s efforts to eradicate the Second Amendment. Eminently reasonable human and originator of sensible policy solutions Wayne LaPierre has made that obvious to anyone within shouting range (And you wonder why we don’t go to the Capital Grille anymore….)

But of course, us media types don’t much care about that because 1) we all have very limp and slender wrists that are incapable of wielding weapons anyway and 2) it’s likely that we would be the victims of more gun violence, if there were more guns, because we make people very angry.

But now the government has gone too far! They’re going after Our Precious -The First Amendment! Goddamnit, that’s the whole reason we have a briefing room in the White House! That’s the whole reason we have a Planet Hollywood DC Newseum!

The Evil Government Culprits this time are the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Together they have, according to Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman, essentially eradicated the wall between individual actions of protected free speech and so-called “coordinated” actions with terrorists to actually abet or incite violence.

The case in question is that of Tarek Mehanna, a hapless idiot who attempted to Lawrence-of-Arabia his way to a jihad camp in Yemen, and upon failing miserably, decided to instead translate jihadi propaganda and upload it to the Internet. In some jujitsu-esque twist of logic, the Courts have ruled that this independent act of translation and uploading -which normally would be protected free speech -is actually terrorism because, you know, 9-11 and such.

The whole story is interesting but complicated, and your editor is too hungover to really explain it very well. Just read it for yourself. And weep. And then drink. More.

FBDC Poll: Government Surveillance Crimping Reporters’ Style?

Uncle Sam SpayThe PEN American Center has released a new report saying that surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies has had a chilling effect on American journalism. The report says that 28% of journalists have curtailed or avoided social media activities, 24% have avoided discussing certain topics in email or over the phone, and 16% have avoided writing or talking about a certain subject.

Has the specter of government surveillance impacted your reporting at all?

GMA’s Robach Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

Amy-RobachAmy Robach of ABC News’ Good Morning America revealed today that she has breast cancer after taking an on-air mammogram earlier this year to encourage other women to do the same. In a piece Monday, Robach, a 40 year old mother of five, explains that like many women, she put off getting a mammogram for too long and only did because fellow GMA host Robin Roberts encouraged her to do so. Roberts is a survivor of breast cancer herself.

On November 14th, Robach will undergo a bilateral mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery. A spokesperson for GMA could not say how long Robach would be off the air following her surgery, saying only that “she will take as long as she needs to recover.”

For more, check out the article at TVNewser, here.

Rand Paul Plagiarizes, So What?

sticky bandits

Everyone’s in a tizzy about Rand Paul’s cut-and-paste problem, the most recent example of which was reported yesterday. But is it really that big of a deal? At least one victim of the long lost Sticky Bandit doesn’t seem to mind. Dan Stewart, at The Week, whose writing on mandatory sentencing was lifted and included in Paul’s infamous Washington Time‘s column, has an interesting take:

I’m indifferent to being plagiarized because today’s media environment has changed what it means to have ownership of a piece of writing. Once your words are published online, they become part of the currency of the internet. They can be freely woven into others’ articles, quoted at length, or tweeted without context. None of us can afford to be that sensitive about how others use or abuse our work.

Of course, not everyone shares his view. The Washington Times has announced that it is nixing Paul’s weekly column.

Author Readies Ezra Klein for Sainthood

images-3On Sunday, the NYT ran a dialogue among readers on “The Rise of Incivility.” Online of course. People are jackasses online – didn’t you know? And lately cyberbullying has been in the forefront of peoples’ minds as some teens are tragically turning to suicide for relief.

Enter the so-called expert in the dialogue: Mitch Horowitz, who apparently hasn’t heard of Google. If he had, he might have a clue what he’s talking about. Instead, he’s just the author of the the forthcoming One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life. And someone who thinks WaPo‘s Ezra Klein is the epitome of “good humor and adult responses within the political discussion.”

Oh really?

Read more

D.C. Settles for Midnight Toking Over Midnight Snacking

Marijuana-Brownies

D.C. needs to step up it’s (legal) edibles game. According to Jessica Sidman of the Washington City Paper, “the city’s medical marijuana business is too new, with too few patients for pot producers to justify expanding their product lines and building out expensive kitchens.”

To the 60 legally registered consumers in D.C., this means that the only method for ingesting marijuana is smoking it. There’s too small of a (legal) weed market for the introduction of brownies, cakes, sauces, juices and any other wonderful mind altering edible right now. But because the market is growing, there will soon be a need for cultivation centers to start building out kitchens to satisfy a wider range of customers who prefer to eat weed instead of smoke it. Read the story here.

Comedians Take to the Streets of D.C.

LaughingTruck

This weekend, The Kennedy Center will honor star of television and stage, comedian Carol Burnett with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. In support of the prize, Capital One Bank is taking to the streets  to ask Washingtonians to share a laugh for a comedy legend in the #sharealaugh truck as it rolls through the city.

 

Find out where the #sharealaugh truck will be…

Read more

Reporter Digs Up Dirt on Cory Booker, Risks Safety in Process

large_CoryBookerInvestigative reporter Charles Johnson, who contributes to The Daily Caller, says he put his safety at risk to land a story and video on U.S. Senate hopeful Cory Booker, who hopes to occupy the New Jersey seat come Wednesday in a special election.

The story asserts that Booker has never lived in Newark.

“WHERE’S CORY?” the headline asks.

Johnson, in an email blast to those who receive his stories, wrote, “Dear friends, This past week I went to Newark for the day and interviewed a number of people on camera about Mayor Cory Booker. It wasn’t the safest thing I’ve done lately but it was a lot of fun.”

What was unsafe about it? We asked. Read more

TWT Says Sayonara to COO

Unknown

The Washington Times hasn’t been a hotbed of stability in the last year or five. And on Thursday they said goodbye to their COO, John Martin. Sources tell FishbowlDC he was fired. He packed up and escorted himself out of the building with a box of his belongings. Security was not required to escort him out. Read more

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>