Some progress – on paper at least – for open government under Obama

From Columbia Journalism Review:

Since President Obama came to the White House in 2009, federal regulatory and science agencies have taken measurable steps—on paper, at least—toward improving their relationships with the press, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

On Friday, UCS, a nonprofit advocacy organization, released a report card grading the media policies of 15 agencies and two departments, from the Bureau of Land Management to the US Geological Survey. The group had issued a similar assessment the year before Obama took office, giving fairly low marks across the board, but the latest evaluation found that, “Many agencies’ media policies have shown significant improvement since 2008.”

Even so, not everybody made the honor roll, and the report stressed that practice doesn’t always live up to policy in some offices. Here’s a look at this year’s report card, including grades for social media policies, which weren’t examined five years ago.


Worse still, however, is the Department of Transportation, which was so bereft of any communications plan that it didn’t even make the scorecard. “We sent them a FOIA request since they have a lot of scientists and technical experts that inform policymaking, but they acted as if they didn’t even know what we were talking about,” Goldman said. “They were so from having a media policy that even the concept was confusing.”