Science News and Government Transparency

Journalists, including AHCJ board member Felice Freyer, gathered to discuss whether the Obama administration lives up to its promise to make science more transparent and accessible to the public. Representatives of the EPA, HHS and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy were invited to take part but didn't respond to multiple requests.

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  1. Curtis Brainard (@CBrainard) recently wrote about the topic in "Transparency Watch: A Closed Door."

    The panel:

    * Moderator: Seth Borenstein, science reporter for The Associated Press (@BorenBears)
    * Curtis Brainard, CJR"s science editor (@CBrainard)
    * Joseph Davis, Society of Environmental Journalists
    * Felice Freyer, Association of Health Care Journalists (@FeliceJFreyer)
    * Darren Samuelsohn, Politico"s senior energy and environment reporter (@DSamuelsohn)
    * Clothilde Le Coz, Reporters Without Borders (@CloLeCoz)
  2. Panelists were asked to put the problems they're seeing in perspective.

  3. Conversation turned to some recent examples in which the administration has moved backwards, including the removal of the Public Use File of the National Pracitioner Data Bank from a public website. The data has been a key reporting tool for years, allowing reporters to write about lax oversight of bad doctors.

  4. The panelists were asked to rate the Obama administration's openness.
  5. One example included recent guidelines on media interactions issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. One sticking point for journalists is that they must go through PIOs to reach the experts.

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