Articles about "FOIA"


Editor fired for Reddit shenanigans, BuzzFeed editors don’t shout

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories for the day before your long weekend. And from Sam Kirkland, your daily digital stories.

  1. Editor fired for gaming Reddit: Rod “Slasher” Breslau was fired from CBS Interactive’s esports site OnGamers after he was “caught asking other users to post his stories to Reddit with specific headlines,” Patrick Howell O’Neill reports. Reddit has banned OnGamers as a result, resulting in a loss of half its traffic. (The Daily Dot) || Related: How to get your news site banned from Reddit (Poynter)
  2. These media companies drug-test their employees: The Washington Post, The New York Times and McClatchy all want you to fill a cup. (Gawker)
  3. Voice of America journalists don’t want to be mouthpieces: Their union endorsed a change to the organization’s charter that would require VOA to “actively support American policy,” Ron Nixon reports.
Read more
Tools:
2 Comments

Morning media roundup: Anonymous sources, FOIA ‘terrorism,’ Chelsea Clinton’s salary

Twice in the last two weeks, New York Times reporters got burned by anonymous sources, Jack Shafer writes. The Times and The Washington Post “tend to rely more heavily on” anonymous sources “than other print outlets” — “In the past four days, the Post cited unnamed sources in at least 18 pieces and the Times did the same in 17 stories ranging from the Iraq civil war to a smartphone app that predicts what a user will type next.”

• “I have nothing against anonymous sources who help guide reporters toward the verifiable — I just draw the line at routinely printing what they say,” Shafer writes.

10 MEDIA STORIES

  1. Jason Leopold was a sloppy journalist who realized that FOIA scoops meant “no one sharing it had to worry about whether they could trust the person who had unearthed the documents; they only had to trust the documents themselves.” Jason Fagone writes a fascinating profile of a self-described “FOIA terrorist.” (Matter)
  2. Former employees at the Salt Lake Tribune have filed suit to suspend changes to the newspaper’s joint operating agreement with the Deseret News.
Read more
Tools:
0 Comments
rosenthal-v-small

King County pays Seattle Times more than $40,000 for public records violations

More than 1,900 pages of e-mails and documents help tell a story about what’s happened to people with mental health issues in King County in Washington, and what the county’s doing about it — not bad for a collection of documents the county couldn’t seem to find.

Rosenthal

Reporter Brian M. Rosenthal first requested those emails last fall after he wrote a Seattle Times series about psychiatric “boarding”, which left people who were involuntarily committed and in need of psychiatric treatment in the emergency room for hours or even days. Many readers wrote him emails about the story afterward.

One “was from a staff person at a hospital that said, nice story, here’s something else you ought to be looking into,” Rosenthal said in a phone interview with Poynter.… Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Kent State journalism faculty ‘embarrassed’ by university’s secretive presidential search

Akron Beacon Journal | The Daily Kent Stater | When Journalism Fails

Faculty members from Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication took out an ad in student paper The Daily Kent Stater Tuesday to protest the university’s search for a new president. Officials destroyed documentation of the search, saying it had “turned over all records that are relevant,” Carol Biliczky reported in the Akron Beacon Journal earlier this month.

“We’re embarrassed by our administration’s refusal to disclose public records related to the recent presidential search,” the ad reads. “And we’re troubled over credible news reports that some of these records may have been shredded to avoid public inspection.”… Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 5.59.31 AM

Public Records Geek will engage in tug-of-war, when necessary

In her first newspaper job with The Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md., Kelly Hinchcliffe got a call that the school district called a news conference.

Why? she asked many times, but no one explained.

So when Hinchcliffe showed up and saw a stack of press releases on the table, she grabbed one and sat down.

A public information officer rushed over and said she couldn’t have the release until after the press conference.

“I said, well, it becomes a public record when it’s created, not when you say you want to hand it to me,” Hinchcliffe told the woman.

A tug-of-war over that press release followed, “and I’m telling her, the public records law says…” Hinchcliffe said in a phone interview with Poynter.… Read more

Tools:
2 Comments

Obama administration denied, censored more FOIA requests in 2013 than it approved

Associated Press | National Security Archive

The Obama Administration cited national security when withholding information from FOIA requests more than 8,000 times in 2013, the Associated Press reports. That’s a “57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year, when it cited that reason 3,658 times,” Ted Bridis and Jack Gillum write.

The overall number of requests to which the government replied was up 2 percent, but government figures show “the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records,” they write. Sometimes the government told AP it just couldn’t find information:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, whose top official has testified to Congress repeatedly about NSA surveillance programs disclosed by contractor Edward Snowden, told the AP it couldn’t find any records or emails in its offices asking other federal agencies to be on the lookout for journalists to whom Snowden provided classified materials.

Read more
Tools:
1 Comment
documents_depositphotossmall

How to use FOIA laws to find stories, deepen sourcing

To mark Sunshine Week, March 16-22, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press explains how journalists can use information access laws to develop stories in the public interest. This post is written by Emily Grannis, the Jack Nelson FOI Legal Fellow at the RCFP.

Freedom of information laws are invaluable resources to reporters covering any beat. The laws provide access to a wide range of government documents, from budgets to emails, and contracts to crime reports.

There are two ways to incorporate freedom of information materials into your reporting: start with the documents or start with the story.

When you start with the documents, think about which government records might be interesting to see or might contain information that will build a story. Then request them.… Read more

Tools:
0 Comments

Reporter sues Florida court clerk over FOIA fees

Naples City Desk

Gina Edwards filed suit against Dwight Brock, the clerk of the Circuit Court of Collier County, Fla., because his office attempted to charge her $556 to fill a public records request.

Edwards’ previous requests were filled for $1 per CD containing electronic records. But “Brock imposed a $1 per page fee for the non-court and non-official records on Naples City Desk on Feb. 14, following the news organization’s press coverage critical of Brock’s Office published on Feb. 11,” City Desk’s account of the suit filing says.

In her suit, Edwards says the files she requested are subject to Florida’s public records law and that Brock can charge only the “actual cost of duplication.” The records she sought were electronic.

Edwards launched WatchdogCity.com in 2010 and hosts Naples City Desk there.… Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
john-cook-small

FOIA lessons from Gawker Editor John Cook

Last January, Ann Coulter expressed her anger about The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal-News’ gun-permit map, which it assembled from public records. “I want them for Manhattan!” Coulter told Sean Hannity. “I want to know how many rich liberals with their bodyguards have gun permits.”

John Cook, then the investigations editor for Gawker, was able to oblige quickly when that news hook fell from the sky. “I’d had those records in a filing cabinet for a year or more,” he said in a phone call. Cook posted a list of names of New York City gun-permit holders he’d received from the New York Police Department in August 2010. The filing didn’t include addresses, though Cook noted those were already online.

So now if you want to see a picture of John Cook’s house, it, too, is online, thanks to an irate blogger.… Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 7.49.45 PM

Map of U.S. mugshot laws shows Justin Bieber should have partied in Seattle

Justin Bieber’s mugshot is everywhere because Florida public records laws allow the release of such records. On Thursday, Poynter wrote about the Miami Beach Police Department’s social media strategy, which ensured that Bieber’s now-famous picture was quickly available to any news organization that wanted it. But how easy would it be to get Bieber’s mugshot had he had a similar evening in other U.S. states? (Memo to JB: Seattle has a lot to offer.)

 

To make this map, we used information from reports from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (including this downloadable 2008 PDF) and the National Freedom of Information Coalition. But laws about public records don’t always reflect how they’re put into practice, so if you’re a journalist who has tried to access mugshots, please tell us how it went.… Read more

Tools:
2 Comments