Media execs: Progress in dispute over gov’t data

Jun 6, 2012, 5:37 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Progress is being made in talks with government officials over a Labor Department proposal to require reporters to use agency computers and telephone lines to file stories on newly released economic data, media organizations told Congress on Wednesday.

Testifying to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Reuters and Bloomberg News officials revealed little detail about the movement they said has occurred in talks with Obama administration officials.

Dow Jones and The Associated Press have also participated in the meetings. The news organizations have fought the proposal to use federal equipment, arguing that it could allow the government to see unpublished articles and could make the process vulnerable to cyberattacks on government computer systems.

“The government would literally own and control the reporter’s notebook,” Daniel Moss, an executive editor from Bloomberg News, told the lawmakers.

Until now, data about employment and consumer prices are given to reporters in a department “lock up” room minutes before the official release so they can prepare their stories and then file them when the information is publicly released. News organizations provide their own computers, software and phone lines.

The department had originally proposed requiring reporters to use government computers, not their own equipment, beginning next month. Agency officials have cited some unspecified breaches of security procedures and of the embargoes the agency sets for release of reporters’ articles.

Under questioning by committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Labor Department spokesman Carl Fillichio said the department would show some flexibility in the July deadline for imposing the new requirements as long as the talks are making progress.

In a written statement provided to the committee, Fillichio provided no detail but said of the sessions with news agencies, “These meetings have been productive and I am encouraged by the progress we have made toward a solution that addresses the department’s security mandates, as well as the media organizations’ business and journalistic goals.”

Among those receiving articles from news organizations are traders who, using ultra-fast trading technology, are able to make massive trades in fractions of a second. Any information they receive before the data are publicly released can give them an unfair advantage, Labor Department officials said.

“A few years ago, a few seconds here or there would not have had much of an impact. Today, fractions of a second can equate to millions or even billions of dollars in market movements,” Fillichio said.

Issa, a frequent critic of President Barack Obama, said the Labor Department’s proposal had “serious freedom of press implications” and criticized the agency for seeking the changes “with the absence of a clear explanation and a lack of public input.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Associated Press

Oregon justice fires panel due to lack of public defenders

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s chief justice fired all the members of the Public Defense Services Commission on Monday, frustrated that hundreds of defendants charged with crimes and who cannot afford an attorney have been unable to obtain public defenders to represent them. The unprecedented action comes as Oregon’s unique public defender system has come […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, flanked by Defense Secretary Gen. Luis Cresce...
Associated Press

Mexico’s week of drug violence shakes administration

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Days of widespread drug cartel arson and shootings in four states last week have left Mexicans asking why the drug cartels exploded and what do they want. The attacks killed 11 people, including a young boy and four radio station employees who were randomly shot on the streets of the border […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Airplane part falls from sky, nearly hits man in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A metal object believed to have fallen from a trans-Atlantic jet came crashing down outside the Maine State House, landing with a loud bang just feet from a Capitol Police worker, officials said Monday. The Federal Aviation Administration was alerted Friday and returned to the State House on Monday as it […]
15 hours ago
From left U.S. Democrat Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, left, and Democratic House member John Gar...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Why US lawmakers’ Taiwan trips keep riling China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Taiwan is high on the summer travel list for U.S. members of Congress on their August recess this year, as U.S. lawmakers make a point of asserting American support for the self-governed island despite objections from China. The payoff photos from this week’s five-member congressional visit, like that of House Speaker Nancy […]
15 hours ago
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 202...
Associated Press

Feds oppose unsealing affidavit for Mar-a-Lago warrant

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Monday rebuffed efforts to make public the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida, saying the investigation “implicates highly classified material” and the document contains sensitive information about witnesses. The government’s opposition came in response to court filings by several news organizations, […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

US offers more monkeypox vaccine to states and cities

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. officials said they are able to ship out more monkeypox vaccine doses than previously planned — because of a strategy shift that allows more shots to be drawn from each vial. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had previously anticipated allowing 221,000 doses to be ordered starting Monday. […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Media execs: Progress in dispute over gov’t data