by Alexis Sobel Fitts
Columbia Journalism Review
After deliberating for months, late last week the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of climate scientist Michael Mann in his quest to maintain the privacy of his emails against a Virginia legislator and conservative think tank that sought to access his records using Virginia’s freedom of information laws.
As I wrote last month, the trial and the court’s verdict, has bigger ramifications than the privacy of Mann, who is perhaps best known for charting the “hockey stick graph,” a plot of temperatures demonstrating an uptick in warming. Organized by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 17 news organizations, including National Public Radio, Dow Jones, and The Washington Post, submitted an amicus brief in November, supporting the group’s rights to Mann’s emails, on the grounds that such a verdict would protect broad freedom of information laws.