UNC one of two universities to use new public records request portal

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Public Records Office has changed the way people make public records requests to the University.

They now use Next Request, a web-based portal, to field public records requests. Before this change, requests were made via email and displayed as open or closed on the public records website.

Gavin Young, senior director for the Public Records Office, said the University of New Mexico is the only other school using Next Request.


Tn. Coalition for Open Government: House committee passes bill allowing requests by email with some limits for “bad players”

The House State Government committee unanimously passed H.B. 58 this week, which would make clear that citizens may send records requests by email to records custodians.

The email bill also contains a section meant to deal with multiple requests to view records from someone who never comes to review them, and requests for copies for which a person never pays for or retrieves.



Data diplomacy: Speak softly and carry a big FOIA

Despite the push for government dashboards and open data portals, much of the data we use at Reveal still must be obtained through public records requests.

Summary data on government websites often comes from more granular and detailed databases.

But asking for that data can be a challenge because of the technical issues you might face. The first time I requested data from a government agency, I had no idea where to begin. How would I get the appropriate dataset for my story? How could I avoid getting summary or aggregate data or data in PDFs?


Hunting local public records is faster than federal FOIA — but with a catch

From MuckRock.com: It's been almost 50 years since the Freedom of Information Act's enactment and accessing information at the federal, state and local level has almost turned into a document lottery.

Over the past few days we have been breaking down what to expect when sending a response and today we take a better look at the difference between federal and state/local agencies.


ACLU files domestic drones FOIA requests

From The American Civil Liberties Union:

On October 23, 2012, the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act requests with five federal agencies seeking records related to the federal government’s domestic use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – better known as drones – as well as plans for the future rollout of drones in the United States.


The FOIA requests ask questions including:


State Supreme Court sides with Ohio State University about open records

From 10TV:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some critics said on Tuesday that they were worried that it could be easier for universities to hide scandals after the state Supreme Court sided with Ohio State University about open records.


An expert said that the Supreme Court's decision would make it harder to get records in the future.