Arizona public records challenges and solutions

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Joe Ferguson of Arizona Daily Star; Jim Small of Arizona Mirror; Dan Barr of Perkins Coie LLP; Rebekah Sanders of The Arizona Republic
  • Date/Time: Sunday, Jun. 25 at 11:30am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 9-10
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Dan Barr, Perkins Coie LLP

This session will focus on how the Arizona Public Records Law works, how it is different from the federal Freedom of Information Act and how reporters can better use it for both long-term projects and daily reporting. Special attention will be given to requesting and obtaining electronic records, and dealing with some of the roadblocks of delay and excessive costs that public bodies use to frustrate access to governmental information. In the era of shrinking budgets for legal challenges, the panel will also share practical tips for obtaining public records in a timely fashion that does not involve lawyers. Audience participation will be encouraged.


Speaker Bios

  • Dan Barr is a partner with Perkins Coie LLP with more than 30 years of experience in media law, civil and constitutional litigation and employment litigation. Barr has extensive experience representing broadcasters and print and online journalists in a wide variety of issues. He is the counsel for the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Inc. @DanCBarr

  • Joe Ferguson: Local political and government reporter for the Arizona Daily Star. @JoeFerguson

  • Rebekah L. Sanders covers Maricopa County for The Arizona Republic, including the recent campaign defeat of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Previously she covered Congress, city hall and sports business, with stints in South Carolina and California. In 2016, she won 1st place for government reporting from the Arizona Press Club. A graduate of the University of Southern California with studies in Nicaragua, Rebekah is crazy about soccer, swing dance and volunteering with foster kids.

  • Jim Small is the editor in chief of Arizona Mirror, the nonprofit newsroom he helped launch in 2018 to cover state government and public policy. He came to the Mirror from the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, which he joined in 2016 as editor and executive director. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at the Arizona Capitol Times, first as a reporter then as an editor. Under his guidance, his newsrooms have won numerous state, regional and national awards for accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations, many of which were rooted in data collection and analysis.

Related Tipsheets

  • Open Government Guide
    The OPEN GOVERNMENT GUIDE is a comprehensive guide to open government law and practice in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one outlines detail the rights of reporters and other citizens to see information and attend meetings of state and local governments.