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. British intelligence authorities had detained one reporter's partner for nine hours at Heathrow airport and questioned him under terrorism laws. DNI James Clapper has at least twice publicly described the reporters as "accomplices" to Snowden, who is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and faces up to 30 years in prison.Attorney General Eric Holder "strongly" encouraged federal agencies "to make discretionary disclosures of information." And yet the U.S. Department of Justice hasn't updated its FOIA guidelines since 2003, George Washington University's National Security Archive found in an audit.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
@justinbieber #MUGSHOT pic.twitter.com/ZuYwmdipIy — Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) January 23, 2014To 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. We'll update the map based on your comments. Related: Mug-shot websites move beyond journalism to mainstream profiteers (Poynter) | Mugged by a Mug Shot Online (The New York Times) | For mugshots, privacy v. public interest (CJR) Related training: Poynter's NewsU also has a free, self-guided course on FOIA. When this story posted on Friday, we asked you to tell us how the open records laws are working in your state. Thanks to those responses, we moved Kansas from the "no" column to the "maybe" column. You can see the comments below to find out why. And here's what we've heard so far on Facebook. Steve Fedoriska said "In Washington we also don't get complete addresses, they only give us a block number and the street." Retha Colclasure Mattern told us "The open records laws are great in North Dakota and releasing report info and mug shots is routine for most of the larger departments. Some of the jails even post them online as soon as they're taken. Smaller, rural departments were harder to work with because they weren't as aware of huge law or how it applied to them. We would get a lot of 'I can't release that, only the sheriff can and he's gone until tomorrow.'"