Help NASW improve access to government scientists and scientific information

Calling all NASW members, ScienceWriters 2018 attendees, science journalists and federal agency public information officers:
In the past few years, many American science journalists have observed that access to government sources and information has become increasingly restricted. This issue doesn't just affect EPA, which has gotten the lion's share of the media attention, but also FDA, USDA, USGS and many other federal agencies. The tightening of access to our public servants and information is a critical issue for the science writing community. We all want to share information about science with the public. But too often we end up in opposition, when journalists want more access to sources and information than PIOs are able to provide.

NASW is hosting a first-ever Information Access Summit to identify solutions. Inspired by previous successful dialogues, we aim to work together to increase science journalists' access to information and sources inside federal agencies. We will also explore how PIOs can develop and sustain open media policies at their agencies. At the conference, panels of veteran journalists and PIOs will share their needs, experiences and constraints. Then we will have an open discussion. Ultimately we hope to begin drafting a set of NASW-endorsed guidelines that both agencies and PIOs can refer to for support of open media policies at federal science agencies as well as state and local agencies, corporations, universities, and nonprofits.

This is, obviously, something of an experiment. But with an open and inclusive dialogue and commitment to collaboration, we believe we can make progress toward a more accessible government and better informed public. And that's where we need you.

You are invited to join us on Tuesday, October 16, conveniently just after the ScienceWriters meeting, to be part of the conversation. Those who are especially interested in making progress on this issue can also join us on the morning of Wednesday, October 17, when we will get down to the nitty-gritty of drafting a document.

Registration is just $15, which covers breakfast and lunch. The summit will take place at George Washington University, the same venue as the meeting. We will hear from our expert panels in the morning, and then devote the afternoon to a mediated conversation in which everyone's voice will be included. All science journalists and PIOs are invited to attend, regardless of where you work and whether or not you're an NASW member. We would like to have a range of perspectives and experiences represented.

More information is available at https://sciencewriters2018.org/infoaccess, and we will be adding agenda information soon. Register using the same system used to register for the overall meeting, or, if you are not attending the meeting, register just for the summit.

If you have already registered for the meeting, you should be able to add the summit using a link in the confirmation email you received.

Registration is limited so sign up soon!

Lastly, please spread the word to others in your professional circles -- and email me with any questions you have.

I hope to see you at the meeting and the summit!

Gabe Popkin NASW information access committee co-chair gpopkin@gmail.com