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



Public Records

Public Records are the "mother's milk" of journalism, the single-best way to find information on government among the best ways to find out about people. It's important to remember that not all -- perhaps even not most -- public records are online. What is typically online is an index or other indicator that a public record exists.


Know the Law: To use public records effectively, you have to know to what you have the right.


Know the Records: How to find public records, how to know what's available. Some guides and tips.


Know Where to Get the Records: A collection of good public records/data links, with the caveat that it's never safe to assume that what you is online -- it might just as well be on paper.


Know How to Search for Records: Sometimes it seems like everything that's anything is online. That is, until you try to search for it. Too often we spend a lot of time looking only to find that what we seek is not there. Or, the mirror image, we find so much that it's impossible to sift the wheat from the chaff. Here are some online searching tips.


Know How to Negotiate for Records: Once you're found your records -- and found you can't download them -- how do you pry them loose? Charm often does the trick, but sometimes you have to play hardball.


Know What to Do with Records When You Get Them: Once you have the records, you need to import them into a program so you can work with them. Here's how to get started.




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