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Database & Public Records Reporting/JOU3121 | News Workshop/JOU 3113



Know the Law

Knowing what public records are, well, public is key to effective reporting. Here are some guides to the Florida Public Records Law, the federal Freedom of Information Act and public records laws throughout the nation.


FOI "Q & A": The Society of Professional Journalists developed these pages as part of its "Open Doors" project.  These narratives (basics, the courts, privacy, your life) provide an overview to public record concepts and laws.


A Pocket Guide to Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Laws:
Open Meetings & Public Records
: A brief guide to state law, from the Florida First Amendment Foundation, publisher of the Public Records Handbook we use in class.


Florida Government in the Sunshine -- A Citizen's Guide: From the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications. Another guide to Florida law.


How to Use the Federal FOI Act: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press assembled this practical guide to federal rules.


Tapping Offical Secrets: The RCFP also assembled this comprehensive guide to each state's laws on public records and open meetings. You can browse by state or you can compare states' stand on an issue.


Lost Stories: The aftermath of Sept. 11 spurred government to close off access to many previously open records. But open records were already being hit prior to the World Trade Center attacks. Concerns for privacy had already made it more difficult to obtain records concerning individuals and that, in turn, made it impossible to do impossible to do a number of stories on how government works (or doesn't work) that in the past brought great benefit to the public. The Reporters Comjmittee for Freedom of the Press did a report. Click on the link or right click to download a PDF copy here.










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