In the new era of “alternative facts,” journalists will need all the help they can get in covering the Trump administration and administering the correct Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to hold the administration accountable.Â
So, they’re turning to the people they know they can trust the most to help them: each other. And they’ve turned to a new tool â Slack â to help them collaborate.
The messaging site now has several channels where people can seek advice and cooperation on filing FOIA requests and obtaining government documents and other information not publicly available.Â
It’s all being run by nonprofit government transparency site MuckRock, which assists journalists and citizens in trying to get access to documents that the government does their damndest to keep out of the light of day.Â
By time of writing Wednesday there were already some 350 people in the channel to discuss, collaborate, and offer advice around records requests from the Trump administration. Most of them were journalists. When Mashable dropped in, many were sharing contact details and offering to work together.
The sheer number of participants means there are chances for people to abuse Slack’s “@here” alert, but it’s also a show of strength and resilience for an industry that’s been constantly under attack from an administration that doesn’t seem to have much need for things like facts.
It’s also part of MuckRock’s larger project to track the Trump administration, including Â sharing requests and plenty of guides and documents that have already been collected.Â
For instance, they’ve got some terrific documents related to the time that Trump â a man infamously known already for two instances of using the word “pussy” â called on the FCC to fine a Fox News reporter for using the word “balls.”Â
Well, Trump’s legion of Twitter followers heeded the call and bombarded the FCC with complaints, which you can read through below.Â
But this project, of course, goes beyond silly instances of profanity. It gives journalists a place to safely collaborate, gather advice, and further gain tools to hold accountable an administration that is highly unlikely to be very cooperative.Â
Michael Morisy, MuckRock co-founder, told Poynter, “I think making sure the public has access to what the government is up to is more important than ever.”
With this latest step, hopefully that remains a reality.Â