“A draft freedom-of-information policy in Calgary, Alberta, would require that whenever FOI requests are granted, the same information released to the requestors must also be released to the public.
Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, and the source of the opposition may surprise you….”
“The province’s [Alberta’s] move [draft freedom of information policy] was widely criticized by journalists and opposition parties at the time, who said the change would undermine the exclusivity of documents they often spend great amounts of time and money working to obtain.
Exclusive stories or “scoops” are highly valuable to reporters, activists and opposition members, said Sean Holman, a professor of journalism at Mount Royal University.
“People with a private interest to hold government to account — whether it be reporters, activists or opposition politicians — do so because it’s not just in the public interest, but also because they’re able to get something out of that,” he said.
“So, if you put that information out there to everyone, it ruins the scoop and decreases the incentive to file a freedom of information request. Rightly or wrongly, this is how accountability works in a democratic society.”…”
“Investigative Dashboard (ID) is intended to help investigative journalists to do their work in a fast and effective way. It combines a number of software tools, including search engines, databases, a research support system and a file manager, to try to shorten the lead time from story inception to publication.
ID is developed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. It is designed to meet the needs of OCCRP reporters, but open for public use….”
“The last decade or so has seen academia become increasingly open to scrutiny and criticism, and that’s a good thing. Open access journals and the use of ‘working papers’ to get round publishing restrictions in gated journals allow people from outside academia to use and challenge existing research. The more freely-available work like this is, the better.
But much of the media hasn’t caught up. It’s common to cover research papers from think tanks, consultancy firms and academics that haven’t been made publicly available…At least a dozen times in the past twelve months alone the ASI has been asked to comment on some new study that hasn’t been made available yet – as if we can criticise something without seeing it first.
The practice of reporting on research that is not open to scrutiny by others has to stop. At best it holds back the progress the world is making towards more open access to academic research. At worst it leads to bad research being reported without being challenged properly, and people who trust the news they read being misled.”