- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: CQ Press; Revised ed. edition (February 23, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1604265507
- ISBN-13: 978-1604265507
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records Revised ed. Edition
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The Art of Access is more than just a highly readable primer on obtaining public records; it's a fantastic, in-depth resource for anyone seeking information from or about their government. This is a guide that can help you turn a public official s right to no into your right to know. --- Pete Weitzel, former managing editor, Miami Herald, and former director of the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government
This clear, concise and timely book provides a step-by-step guide for turning the overhyped rhetoric of transparency into a much-needed reality. Cuillier and Davis, both veterans of the access wars, provide journalists and citizens alike with the keys to unlocking the secrets held in public records that government officials too often like to stow away. Replete with tips from professional journalists, a bevy of relevant websites and many handy checklists, this book is a practical guide for navigating the often bumpy road to getting the government records you want and need. --- Clay Calvert, Professor and Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication, University of Florida
Open government laws such as the Freedom of Information Act provide us with powerful political tools, but we don't always know how to use them. This superb handbook distills the most effective techniques for gaining access to official records. It will help readers become more skillful requesters, and better citizens. --- Steven Aftergood, Director, Project on Government Secrecy
About the Author
David Cuillier, Ph.D., is chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists national Freedom of Information Committee and is a newsroom FOI trainer for the national SPJ on-the-go newsroom training program. He gathered public records as a government reporter and city editor for a dozen years at daily newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. He is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona, teaching computer-assisted reporting, public affairs reporting and access to information. He has earned national honors for his access teaching exercises and research in freedom of information, including the 2007 Nafziger-White Dissertation Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for the top dissertation in the field.
Charles N. Davis, Ph.D., is executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, former chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists national Freedom of Information Committee, and is an SPJ newsroom trainer in FOI. A former newspaper reporter and national correspondent for Dublin-based Lafferty Publications, Davis currently teaches access to information and media law at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has been honored by SPJ with a Sunshine Award for his work in FOI, and in 2009 he was named the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Teacher of the Year. In 2009-10 he was head of the Law and Policy Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has been published extensively in academic and professional journals, and is first author of the book Access Denied: Freedom of Information in the Information Age.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a librarian with more than 20 years' experience wrestling public records information from various sources. I also freelance for several newspapers and know how important this information can be for a story.
The Art of Access gives citizens a thorough lesson in accessing public records that shine light on what government agencies are up to. For example, you might want to know how to obtain a 911 recording, a video from a local metro bus, or even get copies of a city manager's purchase card receipts. This book will teach you effective techniques for gaining access to official records from local, state or federal agencies.
If you have a hunger for acquiring public records, then this book is for you.
If you are intrigued with a certain house that's for sale, you can request public records to learn what the crime rate is in its neighborhood or if any sex offenders live nearby. If you want information about your deceased grandpa, you can request an FBI file on him, if one exists. You can request an FBI file and public records on yourself. Cuillier and Davis convey numerous other examples of how requesting public documents can "help your life in ways that go far beyond work."
Of course, public documents are crucial for journalists, too. Utilizing them can spur the writing of stories that a journalist's editor may not even consider. Accessing public records is an honest way for journalists to make sure public officials are being honest themselves in all realms of their governmental work. "The Art of Access" contains examples of intuitive journalists who used public records to write stories that brought to light dishonest practices by public officials. Requesting documents involves doing your homework, being diligent and sometimes playing hardball, but getting them can be attained.
The authors also emphasize the need for journalists to be empathetic toward record-keeping employees who work in a bureaucratic culture, and to make sure that documents-based stories have a human element so that the material isn't too dry.
To supplement their information, Cuillier and Davis provide a plethora of websites people can visit to read Pulitzer Prize-winning stories, access helpful records for articles, learn about Freedom of Information strategies, discover legal resources and much more.