March 17, 2011
Blog Addresses How to Acquire Access to Public Records
From the About Page for The Art of Access Blog:
We’ve categorized the posts into access tips and different kinds of useful public documents, sorted by beat. We hope that over time this will serve as a useful, searchable repository for record ideas and tips that will help you get story ideas and suggestions for acquiring records. We’ll also work to tag each post with the chapters it corresponds to in the book – so you can find what you need, when you need it.
On this Web site you’ll also find FOI resources for journalists and help for the classroom, including tips for integrating FOI into a news reporting course, teaching exercises and visual aids.
The blog is a companion to The Art of Access: Strategies for Accessing Public Records (CQ Press College, 2010) by David Cuillier and Charles Davis, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists national Freedom of Information Committee, and executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, former chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists national Freedom of Information Committee, respectively. From the blurb for their book:
The Art of Access is a how-to guide for putting the law into action and using ingenuity to pry records loose. Building on their own experience and interviews with more than 100 practitioners, FOI experts and longtime journalists David Cuillier and Charles Davis help you rethink the information-gathering process and develop a document state of mind. With Cuillier and Davis’s strategies, get ready to:
- overcome roadblocks and illegal denials;
- better understand government officials’ perspectives so you can more successfully work with them;
- find more and better online resources and mine them effectively; and
- write document-based stories that resonate with readers.
A “Pro Tips” feature showcases advice from some of the best in the business, from media lawyers and prominent journalists to a private investigator and other access experts. At the end of each chapter, a Try It! section offers exercises and story ideas that will empower you to start finding and using documents right away. Appendixes include a comprehensive list of online FOI resources as well as an annotated Record Album that guides you A–Z to records on everything from abandoned buildings and air quality to workplace safety and zoning.
Both blog and book are highly recommended. Remember, this is Sunshine Week. See also the Sunshine Week Blog. [JH]