ONA Weekly #252

By on April 3, 2019

Monitoring how the government spends tax dollars

On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader, a long-running case over a 2011 FOIA request by the Sioux Fall Argus Leader, which is seeking records of annual taxpayer payments to businesses participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). ONA, along with 35 other media organizations and press freedom groups, joined an amicus brief led by the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press in support of the Argus Leader. 

The brief argues that the Supreme Court should not accept FMI’s interpretation of Exemption 4 to the FOIA, which would allow agencies to withhold anything a private party claims is “confidential” or could result in “negative publicity.” It urges the Court to keep in mind recent amendments to FOIA requiring agencies to disclose information unless they can identify specific “foreseeable harm” from disclosure, and to affirm the decision in favor of the Argus Leader.

ONA is also part of a coalition working to preserve Texas’s anti-SLAPP law, the Texas Citizen Participation Act. This law protects speech on matters of public concern from being silenced by meritless — but expensive — lawsuits. Learn more about the efforts to defend the law.

Teaching solutions journalism

Save the date April 24 for the next session of the virtual ONA Educators Talks. The discussion will cover different ways to incorporate a solutions-focused approach — rigorous reporting on responses to problems — into the journalism curriculum. Speakers include Jillian Bauer-Reese, Assistant Professor in the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University, Deborah Douglas, longtime journalist and the Eugene S. Pulliam Center Distinguished Visiting Professor at DePauw University and Sara Catania, Director of Journalism School Partnerships for the Solutions Journalism Network. Join the ONA Educators group to RSVP and get updates on future events.

Last call: Join the ONA19 Social Team

We are looking for a diverse group of digital journalists with social media and live coverage skills to join the volunteer ONA19 Social Media team, led by Gracie McKenzie, Audience Engagement Editor at CityLab, and Ron Nurwisah, Senior Editor, Audience, at HuffPost. Volunteers receive a free conference badge and have reasonable shifts that accommodate participation in sessions and networking events outside volunteer hours. Applications for the social team and other specialized volunteers roles close Thursday, April 4.

Make a mental health impact

The deadline to apply for The Rosalynn Carter Journalism Fellowships for Mental Health is April 10! Fellows get $10,000 from The Carter Center and intensive training from health and journalism experts to report on any mental health topic they choose. Apply.

From the archives: Freelance survival skills

We are sharing resources from the ONA archives throughout 2019, as we celebrate 20 years of inspiring innovation in journalism.

From how much time to invest in marketing to how to ace tax season, there are many processes freelancers need to navigate that aren’t well documented for people just starting out. Independent journalists Katherine Reynolds Lewis and Rob Pegoraro understand the learning curve is steep. Hear the expert tips they shared in their ONA17 session and save this handy resource on calculating your freelance rate.

Upcoming events

ONA Local groups regularly host events for digital journalists all over the world. Find a group near you or learn how to start a new one.

Jobs for journalists

ONA’s Career Center is an excellent resource for jobs in digital journalism. Recent postings include:

On our radar