One true hero for freedom of information

From Computerworld Blogs

This hero is Dick Hammerstrom, an editor at The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., who has been working for more than two decades to keep courts and government meetings open to public view. He's repeatedly faced-off against legislators who introduce bills that will hide government activities like measures to keep GPS tracking records kept by police from public view.  He runs seminars all over the country for legislators, attorneys, police, journalists, teachers and students on why public information about government activities is so important to democracy.

When Hammerstrom first started in journalism in the 1970s, he worked in Charlotte, N.C., where a government administrator didn't want to share much about the public's business with the press and public. To get essential stories, hIs reporter predecessors in the basement newsroom of the government building had long followed the practice of waiting for the janitor to throw out that day's carbon copies of typed official letters. "We learned to hold the carbons up to the light to read them," Hammerstrom said, explaining how carbon paper was once used to generate multiple copies of a typewritten document. Various stories were generated via that carbon paper probing.