Reading “First Principles” Should be a First Priority

You may or may not be aware of the fact that AAN is a member of “News Media For Open Government” (NMOG).   Formerly the Sunshine in Government Initiative, NMOG “is a broad coalition of news media and journalism organizations working to ensure laws, policies and practices preserve and protect freedom of the press, open government and the free flow of information in our democratic society.”

Being a member of NMOG allows AAN to “punch above its weight” by joining forces with nine other journalism organizations on issues ranging from threats to the First Amendment, encouraging more transparency through FOIA and other open government-related laws and policies, protecting the  reporter-source relationship and, most recently, engaging in the fight for stronger Anti-SLAPP laws.  AAN attorney Kevin M. Goldberg has a longstanding and productive relationship with NMOG Director Rick Blum and their interactions make Kevin’s work on AAN’s behalf more effective. An excellent recent example is their activity at the center of the FOIA Improvements Act of 2016 – the first major reforms to the federal Freedom of Information Act in almost a decade.

NMOG generally meets in DC once a month but Rick, Kevin and all the NMOG members and their representatives are in a constant state of activity.  In order to better inform NMOG membership – and the members of NMOG members – about our work, Rick is publishing a new blog titled “First Principles.”  His intention is to provide updates on a bi-weekly basis and we hope that you will take advantage. We’ll be tweeting links to each “First Principles” update as it is published.

The May 8 installment of “First Principles” is available now. It updates members the following issues that NMOG is tracking now:

  • Wikileaks under renewed Justice Department scrutiny;
  • Some general background on leaks of government information and some of the work NMOG has done in this area (back when it was SGI);
  • Rick’s participation in the “First Amendment Report Card” that was recently released by the Newseum Institute;
  • The Department of Justice’s forward motion on a new “FOIA Portal”.

And, as the May 8 post notes, the NMOG is always looking for your help via sources that explore why journalism and various journalism tools (such as FOIA and use of anonymous sources) benefit the public.  Your stories help us make our case more effectively.

So please continue to check out News Media For Open Government, both via its website and on Twitter via @ForOpenGov, and keep an eye out for future “First Principles” updates from NMOG and through the AAN Twitter feed.


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