News Gathering

President Trump, Other Elected Officials Block ‘Disliked’ Twitter Followers

President Trump, Other Elected Officials Block ‘Disliked’ Twitter Followers

Can public officials block followers on social media platforms because they don’t like what they are hearing?

November 26, 2017 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering
First Amendment: By the Numbers

First Amendment: By the Numbers

With controversies swirling daily about the freedom of speech and press, what is the state of public support for the First Amendment? Several nonprofit organizations—the Newseum First Amendment Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Knight Foundation—conduct surveys of public attitudes about the freedom of expression. Most recently, the Newseum Institute has also initiated a First Amendment Report Card, enlisting a[Read More…]

Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center of Newseum Institute

Gene Policinski Commentary – To Trump On NBC ‘License’ Tweet: NO!

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on the Newseum blog, and have given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint. There’s only one appropriate, spirit-of-freedom response to the “Trump tweet” on Wednesday asking when it’s “appropriate” for the government to punish NBC News for a story the president didn’t like: NEVER. And yes, the repetition of “appropriate” and[Read More…]

October 12, 2017 Below the Fold, News Gathering, Threats
Criticism Escalates Over President Trump’s Threats To Revoke Network Licenses

Criticism Escalates Over President Trump’s Threats To Revoke Network Licenses

October 17, 2017: FCC Chair Stands By First Amendment In a rebuke to President Trump’s threats to revoke broadcast licenses, FCC Chair Ajit Pai said at telecom law event, “The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment, and under the law the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on[Read More…]

October 12, 2017 News Gathering, Top Stories
The President’s Mar-A-Lago Retreat and Presidential Access

The President’s Mar-A-Lago Retreat and Presidential Access

Throughout history, U.S. Presidents have relied on private retreats to recharge during the trials of governing. George H.W. Bush had a “Summer White House” in Kennebunkport, Maine, FDR  built a “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry S. Truman had his own Florida “Little White House” before President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Mar-a-Lago, once the Marjorie Merriweather Post estate, is[Read More…]

October 9, 2017 Access, News Gathering
Crackdown on Leakers From Obama to Trump Chills A Free Press

Crackdown on Leakers From Obama to Trump Chills A Free Press

Journalists often publish information taken from leaked classified documents. Does the First Amendment protect them from prosecution for doing so? The Supreme Court has not considered that exact question, but Bartnicki v. Vopper  suggests that journalists would indeed be protected as long as they were innocent recipients of the information—that is, they did not participate in or encourage the illegal[Read More…]

September 18, 2017 Leaks, News Gathering
United States Supreme Court Building

Reporter’s Privilege

Reporter’s privilege is the right asserted by journalists to keep their sources confidential in the face of a court order to reveal the information. The U.S. Supreme Court considered that issue only once, in 1972, in the case of Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665. The Court in a 5-4 decision said that reporters did not enjoy a First Amendment[Read More…]

August 29, 2017 Legal Cases, News Gathering, Subpoenas
The End of White House Press Briefings?

The End of White House Press Briefings?

Truncated, often truculent, and now off-camera, White House Press Briefings no longer provide a link to the Administration’s thinking, so what’s their worth?

July 12, 2017 Access, Leaks, News Gathering
The Limits of Transparency and FOIA Under Trump

The Limits of Transparency and FOIA Under Trump

Transparency is often a buzzword for new administrations but following through on open access has proven difficult.

July 12, 2017 FOIA, News Gathering
The Chilling Effect of Public Broadcasting Funding Cuts

The Chilling Effect of Public Broadcasting Funding Cuts

Does the government have a role to play in public broadcasting?

July 11, 2017 Access, News Gathering