Date:November 20, 2003, and every Monday in 2003, Jan-Dec
This year-long project tested state agencies' compliance with Maryland's freedom of information act. The result was an extensive series of articles that looked at different aspects of the state's open records laws and reported what agencies were complying and to what extent they were complying. The project showed that people only had about "a 60 percent chance of getting what they are legally entitled to, and often they will face improper questioning about who they are, why they want the record and who they work for." Electronic records proved even harder to get; for example, in one series of requests, the project revealed that "none of the state agencies tested...would provide public records in electronic format, and none would give out public information included in a database." The series took a hard look at such problems and what the public can do about it. As a result of the audit, the Maryland attorney general promised "a new training initiative for state employees."