Using public records laws to get data
A how-to on crafting the best-worded FOIA and state public records queries along with tips on how to actually get the documents you need for compelling investigations.
Christopher Baxter is the founding editor in chief of Spotlight PA, a statewide investigative newsroom based in Harrisburg, Pa., and in partnership with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Lancaster Media Group. Previously, Baxter was the editor for data and investigations at NJ Advance Media (The Star-Ledger & NJ.com). He has served various roles as an investigative reporter, mentor, coach and editor. Follow him on Twitter @cbaxter1.
Norberto Santana Jr. is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than two decades reporting experience, largely focused on local government across Southern California. He’s worked as a staff writer for the Orange County Register, the San Diego Union Tribune, the San Bernardino County Sun, the Virgin Islands Daily News and Congressional Quarterly. Since 2009, he’s led the digital nonprofit newsroom, Voice of OC, covering civic life in Orange County, California.
Katie Townsend (@katie_rcfp) is the Legal Director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (www.rcfp.org), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. She oversees the litigation, amicus, and other legal work of Reporters Committee attorneys, and represents the Reporters Committee, news organizations, and individual journalists in court access, freedom of information, and other First Amendment and press freedom matters.
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