‘Create a culture that says public access is good, and we don’t want exceptions,’ retiring leader says

By Todd FettigNFOIC executive director Be proactive. Think in terms of principles. Think long-term. Build a culture of transparency. And remind lawmakers of their commitments to open government.  Those are the tenets of Robert Travis Scott, who in November 2021 retires as president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), a member of…


News Leaders Association honors First Amendment Award winners for advancing Freedom of Information principles

Journalists uncovered decades of New York police disciplinary records, detailed a university’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, and investigated deaths inside detention facilities. Their efforts have been recognized by the News Leaders Association, which announced its 2021 First Amendment Award recipients on May 12, 2021. The awards recognize “the best journalism advancing Freedom of Information…


Panel will share tips on fighting for access to public records

Nancy Ancrum of the Miami Herald will lead a discussion with journalists Andrea Gallo of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., and Derek Kravitz of the Brown Institute, along with First Amendment Coalition Executive Director David Snyder. The panel will discuss tips for fighting for open government and records access. The event is Thursday, March 18 at 10 am. PST via Zoom. The…


Editorial: Public needs access to body camera video to see how police work

New Orleans police released their first two recordings from body cameras worn by officers in late March. One was from the Jan. 7, 2015, fatal police shooting of Omarr Jackson in Central City and the other was the April 28, 2015, shooting death of Jared Johnson in New Orleans East. 

Superintendent Michael Harrison said the videos showed that officers behaved properly and were justified in their actions.


Louisiana TV reporter handcuffed, given summons while investigating mayor’s salary

Police detained WBRZ-TV reporter Chris Nakamoto while he was pursuing a story on government operations in the small town of White Castle, Louisiana.

Nakamoto was put in handcuffs, escorted to the police department and written a misdemeanor summons. The summons was written for an alleged violation of statute 14:63, remaining after being forbidden.  


How Louisiana health agency is keeping its potential budget cuts secret

The state health agency is using a law backed by the Jindal administration to conceal its recommendations for $600 million to $700 million in budget cuts.

State Department of Health and Hospitals officials said the public will know where the reductions will be made on Feb. 27, when Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office submits the proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.