Journalists have been searching for alternative resources after the government shutdown caused many online databases to go down and government offices to close as employees went on furlough. For more information about how the shutdown is affecting news coverage, see the stories below.
For information on closed FOIA offices:
Both the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and MuckRock are keeping lists of closed FOIA offices. The FOIA blog is posting regular updates related to any effects of the government shutdown.
- Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: FOIA processing shut down along with government
- MuckRock News: Transparency shutdown: which FOIA offices are on ice?
- The FOIA Blog: Sen. Leahy Statement on Shutdown’s Impact on FOIA
How journalists are working around the problem…for now:
Many are using alternative sources, but as investigations continue or new projects begin, resources may not be available. The Sunlight Foundation recommends ways to avoid problems in case of another loss of access to government data.
- Source: U.S. Shutdown scuttles data
- Poynter: Government shutdown closes websites, affecting data journalists
- Sunlight Foundation: Government APIs aren’t a backup plan
- National Journal: The Government Shutdown Is Terrible for Transparency
What qualifies as “essential” government functions:
Military operations and transportation and weather services are among some of the essential programs that will continue operating. Regulations and inspections groups are among those that will continue to work with fewer staff.
- Slate: Spying Is Essential, Disclosure About Spying Is Inessential
- Foreign Policy: In Shutdown, Government-Funded News Declared ‘Essential to National Security’
- Bloomberg: Pentagon Contract Winners Go Unannounced as Shutdown Lingers
- Quartz: Why is NASA.gov shut down while CIA.gov is still open?
- Mother Jones; 48 Ways a Government Shutdown Will Screw You Over
- Wall Street Journal: What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Shutdown
- Mondaq: In The Event Of A Partial Government Shutdown, What Happens To The Federal Agencies That Monitor The Workplace?
How to find government data from alternative sources:
The Pew Center has a list of all data resources currently offline. IRE, the Reynold’s National Center for Business Journalism, and Investigative News Network all have alternative services for accessing government data.
- Pew Research: Federal government shutdown: The data casualties
- Reynolds Center for Business Journalism: Shutdown closes Federal databases, but you may have some alternatives
- Investigative News Network: Finding data during the government shutdown
- IRE: Tracking available data
Covering the shutdown: