Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year. “The Freedom of Information Act was supposed to result in, you know, the freedom of information. Obviously, not everything the government produces paperwork-wise can end up in the public’s hands, but far more should be turned over to the public than has been. Using a proprietary blend of stonewalling and excessive fee demands, countless government agencies have managed to keep public documents away from the public. It takes a lawyer to win FOIA lawsuits, which may be why corporations are getting their hands on far more documents than American citizens.”

Smarter government or data-driven disaster: the algorithms helping control local communities (MuckRock)

MuckRock: Smarter government or data-driven disaster: the algorithms helping control local communities. “Does handing government decisions over to algorithms save time and money? Can algorithms be fairer or less biased than human decision making? Do they make us safer? Automation and artificial intelligence could improve the notorious inefficiencies of government, and it could exacerbate existing errors in the data being used to power it. MuckRock and the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law (RIIPL) have compiled a collection of algorithms used in communities across the country to automate government decision-making.”

How to: plan a journalism project that needs data entry (Online Journalism Blog)

Online Journalism Blog: How to: plan a journalism project that needs data entry. “Data-driven reporting regularly involves some form of data entry — some of the stories I’ve been involved with, for example, have included entering information from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, compiling data from documents such as companies’ accounts, or working with partners to collect information from a range of sources. But you’ll rarely hear the challenges of managing these projects discussed in resources on data journalism. Last week I delivered a session on exactly those challenges to a factchecking team in Albania, so I thought it might be useful to share the tips from that session here.”

Poynter: This project matches investigative editors to the local newsrooms that desperately need them

Poynter: This project matches investigative editors to the local newsrooms that desperately need them. “Investigative Editing Corps is a project that pairs seasoned investigative editors with local newsrooms. The editors get stipends for their work through foundation funding that supports the project. The newsrooms pay nothing. IEC officially launched last week, almost three years after Ciotta first imagined how investigative editors who’d left the business (either willingly or not) might help the local newsrooms that need them.”

Balkan Insight: BIRN Launches New Investigative Resource Desk Platform

Balkan Insight: BIRN Launches New Investigative Resource Desk Platform. “The platform provides investigative journalists with various types of assistance and a set of tools and resources related, but not limited, to freedom of information, data access and protection, cyber-security and open-source datasets. The assistance of our experts is free and provided on a needs basis. BIRD also contains various databases and a set of tools that can be used in daily reporting. Currently, the platform offers 20 different publications on topics such as freedom of information, data protection, journalism sustainability, verifying information and many more. And we intend to add more in future.”

“We’ve seen hate becoming mainstream”: This news site aims to tie together the intel on extremism (Nieman Lab)

Nieman Lab: “We’ve seen hate becoming mainstream”: This news site aims to tie together the intel on extremism. “After years of writing about it for TPM, The Daily Beast, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, [Nick Martin] decided to start The Informant, a newsletter and site dedicated to ‘original reporting and intelligence on hate and extremism in America today.’ While any number of outlets were covering pieces of the story, Martin said he didn’t see any one making sense of it and explaining what it all means.”