The Investigative Reporting Workshop’s Blogs
March 13-19 was Sunshine Week — a nationwide celebration of access to public information. Across the country, the week was marked by panel discussions, workshops and other events about using and understanding the latest developments in freedom-of-information resources. One of those was an event at the University of Missouri in which Charles Lewis, the Workshop's executive editor, argued that government has not become too transparent.
Since 1996 the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has offered a free letter-generating service to provide users with the correct language and structure for FOIA requests. Over the past year the committee looked for ways to expand this tool to better serve reporters. In recognition of the fact that a single investigation can require hundreds of FOIA requests, they sought to make it easier for journalists to track and organize records requests.
“Reporters are always trying to remember where they’ve submitted requests, how much time has passed since they made the request and who they need to follow up with,” said Emily Grannis of the new ifOIA website.
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Our recently published “Fatal Force: Two years after Ferguson, police shootings up,” a project with The Washington Post, is an extension of the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series illuminating officer-involved shootings in the United States during 2015, as well as the first follow-up piece the Post published in 2016 that sought to find out how police departments handle releasing the names of officers who use fatal force.
Journalist Betty Medsger traveled the country to talk about her book, "The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI,” (Knopf, 2014), in which she relays the back-story of the eight people behind the burglary and how they managed to bring down one of the most powerful and secretive agencies in U.S. history. She found a new generation thinking of the ethical issues they may face as citizens and potential government employees.
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