Under the federal Freedom of Information Act and public records laws in all 50 states, anyone can request information from federal, state and local agencies like the FBI, the EPA, your local police department, or even your local public school or university. Lots of things can inspire public records or freedom of information requests — announcements, news stories, and more. Filing public records requests is an important way for young journalists to gain insight into the operations of various public agencies and organizations.
In this Zoom workshop, EFF Investigative Researcher Beryl Lipton—who has filed hundreds of public records requests— will describe how the process works, and guide you through what's necessary to shine a light on your favorite (or least favorite) public agency. She'll also offer a template we've used recently for sending requests to public schools.