Sqoop adds Department of Justice feed

Data journalism site Sqoop has added the Department of Justice to its public records database that currently includes the SEC, patent applications and grants, and federal court dockets (PACER). Reporters can use Sqoop to search and set alerts for news tips in these filings. The new DOJ release includes press releases and speech transcripts from…

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Open data benefits many, but cost breakdown unclear

Editor’s Note: This article first ran on July 20, 2017 on the Investigative Reporting Workshop’s website. By Clairissa Baker and Yang Sun, Investigative Reporting Workshop A new citywide data policy in Washington, D.C., shows there is no simple way for cities to clearly budget open data initiatives.  Meanwhile, as the city works this summer to…

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Virginia’s secret police: A fight to hold law enforcement accountable

By Gary Harki, The Virginian-Pilot In February, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would allow law enforcement agencies to keep secret the names of all police officers, deputy sheriffs and fire marshals. It eventually died in a House subcommittee, but only after journalists raised the alarm that the state of Virginia was about to…

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Judge: Missouri broke the law by concealing execution drug supplier

By Allison Wrabel Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem ruled that the Missouri Department of Corrections violated the Sunshine Law when it failed to reveal the name of the pharmacy that supplies the drugs for lethal injections. Under state law, the identities of individual execution team members are to be kept confidential. In 2013,…

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#FOIAFriday: International FOIA tips and resources

Requesting data or documents from another country can be a confusing and challenging task. What kinds of records are available? Who do you contact about them? Which laws govern their release? For #FOIAFriday this week we put together a roundup of some of our favorite resources on international records requests. If you have foreign FOIA…

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Kansas AG: Private emails on public topics protected

Kansas’ attorney general said Tuesday that emails sent by state employees through private accounts aren’t public record, even when they deal with public business. Attorney General Derek Schmidt was responding to a question from state Sen. Anthony Hensley about whether such an email would constitute public record. Schmidt, who interpreted “private email” to be an…

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Federal agencies fail FOIA test conducted by Syracuse University

Card If you report on the government, it may not surprise you to read that only seven of the 21 federal agencies recently FOIAed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) have provided records more than two months after the requests went out. TRAC, a research center that administers the FOIA Project out of Syracuse…

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Lack of protocol revealed in Oklahoma execution

Following the April 29th execution of Clayton Lockett, the Tulsa World, along with legal representation from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, filed a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma. On Friday, more than 5,000 pages of interview transcripts and other records were released. The transcripts include about 100 interviews the Department of…

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OMB to release largest index of government data in the world

By Matt Rumsey, Sunlight Foundation On Feb. 6, the Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to the Sunlight Foundation explaining how it planned to comply with our FOIA request for Enterprise Data Inventories. These inventories are compiled by 24 federal agencies as part of President Barack Obama’s 2013 open data executive order. The…

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Senator puts hold on widely supported FOIA bill

A bill designed to improve the way the federal government handles an increasing load of FOIA requests – a bill that had gained bipartisan support – could be dying after a senator blocked the legislation. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 would “create a pathway for the federal government to modernize the administration of FOIA”…

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