Filing a FOIA request is common practice for investigative reporters, but whether a request is honored sometimes feels like chance. So in 2007 Congress created a kind of FOIA ombudsman: the director of the Office of Government Information Services. Last week Miriam Nisbet, who has worked for the Justice Department and the American Library Association, was named to the post. Nisbet explains how she hopes to improve the FOIA process.
Politicians and journalists frequently cite statistics that are misleading, derived from dubious studies, or simply plucked out of thin air. So the U.K. has done something novel: they’ve created a new government agency to ensure that those all-important stats aren't fudged for political purposes. Chairman of the U.K. Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, explains what they do.
The Obama Administration has allocated billions to expand broadband service to underserved areas, but the first step is spending millions of dollars to find those areas. And how that mapping is done will greatly affect whether the digital divide will be bridged. Mark McElroy is the Senior Vice President of Communications for Connected Nation, the nation’s largest broadband service mapping company. Art Brodsky is the communications director for Public Knowledge, a leading critic of Connected Nation’s mapping methodology.
The last time crowds of this size poured onto Tehran's streets was the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Perhaps that's why some in the media have been quick to draw parallels between that period and now. Youseff Ibrahim was the Tehran bureau chief for the New York Times in 1979. He has some reservations about the comparison.
The BBC Persian Service, a satellite channel that broadcasts into Iran, has become a major influence on Iranian society. The interactive show "Your Turn" airs calls and e-mails from those inside the country. "Your Turn" host Siavash Ardalan describes how viewers reported on the sometimes disturbing events taking place this week.
The world watched the historic demonstrations against the Iranian regime this week. By Friday, the government had clamped down hard on journalists, whose reporting credentials were not renewed, and inside Iran access to the outside world was hard to come by. UCSD Professor Babak Rahimi was in Tehran and described his feeling of isolation.