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Tag Archive: Citizen Journalism

Investigate Earmarks with EarmarkWatch.org!

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Wondering who's getting all the earmarks? Who's giving them and why? Do earmarks meet pressing needs or pay off political favors? And which are pure pork? EarmarkWatch.org, an innovative new tool from the Sunlight Foundation and Taxpyers for Common Sense, lets you find out for yourself. Using EarmarkWatch.org, you can exercise citizen oversight of Congress. Dig into the 47 earmarks worth $166,500,000 that Rep. John Murtha inserted (and figure out which benefit campaign contributors). Or take a close look at the $100,000 earmark that Sen. David Vitter secured for an organization that promotes creationism in Louisiana schools. Or the $37 million in earmarks that include defense giant Northrop Grumman as a beneficiary. Right now, you can investigate earmarks from the House Defense Appropriations Bill and the House and Senate versions of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bills. Using a host of online resources, you can find out whether recipients of earmarks hired lobbyists, made campaign contributions to members of Congress, or won federal contracts and grants. You can also add information to eamarks others have researched, or comment on what others have found. EarmarkWatch.org provides you with powerful tools to scrutinize and evaluate thousands of earmarks. To get started, create an account and pick an earmark.

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Online Journalist Ejected from Press Gallery

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Citizens and journalists are taking to new mediums to report on Congress. These new mediums, however, are not recognized by the U.S. Senate Press Gallery. Today, ConsumerAffairs.com reports that it's Congressional reporter, Joe Enoch, an award-winning investigative journalist, was ejected from the Press Gallery after he was denied renewal of expired credentials because he wrote for an online venture. According to the Senate Press Gallery, ConsumerAffairs.com is not a "legitimate journalistic enterprise." This is a shining example of what Rob Bluey pointed to in his Hill op-ed and in his Open House Project recommendations to create a credentialing to bloggers and citizen journalists. The right to report is not limited to those employed by elite media institutions. ConsumerAffairs.com founder and editor in chief James R. Hood puts it best when he says, "The Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of the press to everyone; it does not establish a legitimacy litmus test."

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Time to let citizens cover Congress

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The Hill newspaper began a series of Op-Eds today from authors of the Open House Project, a Sunlight sponsored endeavor to make the House of Representatives more open to citizens online and in general. Today’s piece comes from the Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey advocating for citizen journalist access to the press gallery in the Capitol. With the expansion of online citizen-generated media over the past few years it sometimes overlooked by those who consume this media how the obstacles created by old media that impedes citizens from observing and reporting on their own government.

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