Labor Department forcing media to use its computers during lockups
by Chris Roush
The Department of Labor is now forcing media to use its computers when they are in a “lockdown” situation writing about key economic data, reports Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner.
Tapscott writes, “In other words, journalists will no longer be allowed to bring their laptops or other equipment to the lockups, they will have to use government-supplied equipment, described by Fillichio as including ‘a virtualized desktop running a Windows operation system, a web browser, word-processing software, an Adobe Reader application and secure file transfer capability. Equipment provided will not have wireless networking capability. Provisions will be in place for news organizations to transmit their stories over the Internet.’
“The changes evidently are in response at least in part to worries that some of the non-traditional news organizations allowed in recent years to participate in the lockups may not be using their access simply for journalistic purposes.
“Since the stock market can rise or fall by hundreds of points as a result of such a data release, making sure nobody gets an advance peek at the data is critical to insuring the integrity of the process.
“But some news organizations worry about having to use government equipment that could compromise their editors and reporters in preparing publishable charts, consulting previous stories and charts for comparison purposes, and reviewing prior stories for context and analyses.”
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