Global FOI: AP tests laws in 105 countries

**This article appeared in the Winter 2012 IRE Journal** By Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press My freedom of information lesson at The Associated Press Mexico City bureau was not going well. Everyone kept inexplicably cracking up. MISTAKE #1. It ends up that “FOIA” sounds remarkably close to a vulgar f-word in Spanish. Also, because Mexico actually…

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American clunker: U.S. FOIA falling behind other countries

**This article appeared in the Fall 2014 IRE Journal** By David Cuillier, University of Arizona School of Journalism When it comes to freedom of information, the United States can learn a lot from other countries. Now, 103 countries have freedom of information laws, most of those passed in the last 15 years. Many were modeled after the…

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Beyond narco tunnels and border security: Tips and techniques for investigating stories along the U.S.–Mexico border

**This article appeared in the 2015 1st Quarter IRE Journal** BY CELESTE GONZÁLEZ DE BUSTAMANTE » BORDER JOURNALISM NETWORK Geopolitical borders and the communities that thrive among them are unique places where cultures can be both connected and contested at the same time. Borderlanders, those who live on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border region,…

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Foreign FOI: How to request records in another country

**This article appeared in the 2015 1st Quarter IRE Journal** BY EMILIA DÍAZ-STRUCK » CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF VENEZUELA The lack of information in one country does not mean that the information does not exist. Many times, stories connect with different parts of the world, and searching in other countries could improve the findings. Persons and…

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Reporter finds hundreds of unpunished water violations in Minnesota

By Mark Steil Minnesota Public Radio I’ve always enjoyed looking through large piles of data in my job as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio. My primary beats are the agriculture and energy sectors. I’ve been on the job 35 years now, and for most of that time a document hunt generally meant one thing:…

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Crimes in the classroom

By Susan Snyder and Dylan Purcell The Philadelphia Inquirer A series of racial attacks at a Philadelphia high school in late 2009 – and the school district’s inadequate response – prompted The Inquirer to launch an investigation into school violence. Its seven-part series, “Assault on Learning“, and follow-up stories published throughout the past year, showed that…

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Campaign cash flow at the state level: Look at contributors, ballot measures

 By Beverly Magley and Anne SherwoodNational Institute on Money in State Politics For your stories about 2012 state elections, check out free campaign-finance information at The National Institute on Money in State Politics (followthemoney.org), a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization. In addition to downloadable data sets, you can mine reports on trends and anomalies, as well as…

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National: Home in on top donors, bundlers, super PACs

By Viveca Novak Center for Responsive Politics The 2012 election promises to be the most expensive on record. One important way in which it differs from the 2008 contest: the presence of more outside groups, spending much more money, thanks to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Citizens United v. FEC in 2010 and subsequent legal…

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2011 IRE Investigative Books List

IRE’s annual list of investigative books can be viewed here and seen below. More than 200 books published in 2011 made the list. The annual list is compiled by Steve Weinberg.  If you know of an investigative/explanatory book written by an American journalist published last year for public sale and fail to see it listed, please…

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