FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2018
New York, NY – The Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), is deeply concerned by the lack of transparency being exhibited by New York State government agencies regarding the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is currently one of the largest public works projects in the country. We stand with The Journal News in its efforts to obtain full and unfettered disclosure of public documents related to the bridge.
Specifically, we support the requests that The Journal News has made for these documents under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. We are especially distressed to learn that the New York State Thruway Authority has repeatedly denied, inadequately responded to, or even ignored these requests, effectively forcing The Journal News to take legal action on behalf of the public at its own expense. No media outlet should have to go to court to get a public agency to release public records.
SPJ’s Code of Ethics urges journalists “to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.” The public has a clear right to detailed information on whether official decisions are being made in the public interest. Only with this information can the public decide whether the facts align with the claims currently being made by state government, especially claims regarding the bridge’s actual costs, budget, and timeline.
We urge our fellow journalists to support The Journal News in these efforts.
The Board of Governors
The Deadline Club
New York chapter, Society of Professional Journalists