‘Always appeal,’ and more pro tips from a dozen FOIA experts

In January, CJR contributors published a selection of FOIA best practices, based on an analysis of more than 33,000 such requests. Among a number of conclusions, the analysis showed that individual practices (and the responses to them) can vary widely. I’d emphasize that using the Freedom of Information Act effectively is about more than preparing a request. Rather, it’s about the process: researching the agencies, following up with FOIA officers, appealing denials, and so on.


CJR: Here’s the backstory to a bill allowing Virginia police to keep officers’ names secret

If you follow transparency and open-records news, you might have heard about what’s going on in Virginia, where the state Senate last week approved a bill to make the names and training files of law-enforcement officials “excluded from mandatory disclosure” under the state Freedom of Information Act.


CJR: Where the right to know comes from

In 2003, Dean Baquet, then managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, along with then-Editor John S. Carroll, considered—and ultimately rejected—delaying publication of a damaging story on gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Just five days before the October 7 special election, the paper ran the story, which detailed multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The timing did not give the Schwarzenegger camp much chance to respond and regroup.