Agencies hinder journalists' access to federal execs, survey shows

Federal agencies routinely hinder journalists from interviewing agency employees, according to a new survey from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Three-quarters of the 146 working journalists who responded to the survey said that agencies routinely require them to obtain approvals from public affairs officers before interviewing federal agency employees.

Thirty-one percent of the journalists said they must obtain such approvals for every single interview, while 45 percent said it was required “most of the time.”

Two-thirds of the journalists said the agencies outright prohibit the reporters from interviewing employees at least some of the time. Eighteen percent said that happens most of the time.

Eighty-four percent of the journalists said their interviews with agency employees have been monitored in person or over the phone by public information officers.

The journalists in the survey—of whom 95 percent are full-time journalists--overwhelmingly agreed with the statement that “the public was not getting all the information it needs because of barriers agencies are imposing on journalists’ reporting practices,” the society said in a report on the survey results released on March 12.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • Social network, census

    5 predictions for federal IT in 2017

    As the Trump team takes control, here's what the tech community can expect.

  • Rep. Gerald Connolly

    Connolly warns on workforce changes

    The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee's Government Operations panel warns that Congress will look to legislate changes to the federal workforce.

  • President Donald J. Trump delivers his inaugural address

    How will Trump lead on tech?

    The businessman turned reality star turned U.S. president clearly has mastered Twitter, but what will his administration mean for broader technology issues?

  • Login.gov moving ahead

    The bid to establish a single login for accessing government services is moving again on the last full day of the Obama presidency.

  • Shutterstock image (by Jirsak): customer care, relationship management, and leadership concept.

    Obama wraps up security clearance reforms

    In a last-minute executive order, President Obama institutes structural reforms to the security clearance process designed to create a more unified system across government agencies.

  • Shutterstock image: breached lock.

    What cyber can learn from counterterrorism

    The U.S. has to look at its experience in developing post-9/11 counterterrorism policies to inform efforts to formalize cybersecurity policies, says a senior official.

Reader comments

Thu, Mar 15, 2012 Amused

Maybe since the press has stopped being such a lapdog entity, resentment in D.C. is governing...or maybe it is too many embarrassing skeletons in the closet that may be discovered.

Thu, Mar 15, 2012 Paul

I say just cut them out completely. There is a reason why we use PAO and even with that protection, it never goes well. Journalists are no different than politicians. They always have their own agenda and generally do not have sufficient knowledge to understand what they are reporting. I've been a party to a number of "conspiracies" as reported by journalists and find it almost laughable if not for the fact that the public becomes misinformed in the process. I’m all for government openness but our main problem is a continuing misunderstanding of the public about what we do because of both reporters and politicians. Until they go back to reporting facts and leave the opinions for the op ed page, they should and will continue to be left out in the cold.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group