The art of access: Strategies for acquiring public records in an increasingly anti-media world

By Ashley Sutherland, Arizona State University Delays. Excessive redactions. Fees. These are just some of the issues journalists and other citizens face when requesting public records from the government. David Cuillier, director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, and Miranda Spivack, a professor of journalism at DePauw University, offered tips and strategies on how…

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Experts share tips for prying records out of government agencies

By Andrew Kreighbaum Working on a beat where most sources prefer to remain anonymous, VICE News reporter Jason Leopold has turned to extensive and aggressive FOIA work to get officials on the record. Leopold, who covers national security, said he has 1,500 FOIA requests out at any one time. “I then seek out the people…

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IRE Preview: How to fight (and win) open records battles

Get the tools and inspiration you need to successfully fight for records at the IRE Conference in June. Jason Leopold, a self-described FOIA terrorist and a winner of this year’s IRE FOI Medal, will share his strategies and advice on how to wrangle information from recalcitrant officials. He’ll be joined by Brandon Smith, the journalist…

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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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Behind the Story: How KATC exposed problems with early animal euthanasia in Louisiana

Video by KATC-Lafayette You don’t need to work in a large newsroom to pull off an investigative story with impact. Earlier this year KATC-Lafayette’s Tina Macias and Allison Bourne-Vanneck revealed that in 2013 a Louisiana animal shelter euthanized a quarter of the dogs that passed through its doors in less than four days – the…

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Mississippi Ethics Commission rules in favor of records request for text messages

The city of Tupelo, Miss. violated open-records laws by not providing the Daily Journal with text messages it requested last year. The paper had requested the texts from the mayor’s personal cell phone over the course of three days last October, when a city official resigned, the Journal wrote. The Mississippi Ethics Commission all agreed…

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Learn how to use genealogy records with IRE’s new webinar

Paul Parker of the Providence Journal walks through how to use online genealogy records and ancestry databases to profile subjects and verify stories in this 20-minute webinar. Learn how to use popular genealogy websites like Ancestry.com as well as lesser-known sites such as cyndislist.com. So how do you use this stuff? Parker explains how he…

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IRE nomination call for most secretive government agency or individual

The Golden Padlock Award. Photo: Travis Hartman Investigative Reporters and Editors is now welcoming nominations for its second annual Golden Padlock award recognizing the most secretive government agency in the United States. “This award acknowledges government officials across the country who excel in the art of suppressing public information,” said David Cay Johnston, president of…

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Oregon State fights media adviser’s request for records

Oregon State University student media adviser Kate Willson thought she was just doing her job when she filed a public records request with the university. Now she’s worried it could get her fired. OSU’s chief spokesman says Willson’s job is safe and the university was not trying to muzzle her. But he also says Willson…

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