Accessibility Settings

color options

monochrome muted color dark

reading tools

isolation ruler

Image: Shutterstock

» Tipsheet

Resource

Topics

Getting Data – Using Open Records Laws

Read this article in

Government bodies often have mechanisms that allow journalists and members of the public to request data and documents. Below are some resources to help you understand the public records laws where you live and draft successful records requests.

The National Freedom of Information Coalition is a US nonprofit organization that has a guide to international freedom of information (FOI) laws on its website along with information on state laws.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Open Government Guide (updated 2019) breaks down US state freedom of information laws into standardized sections that cover who can file FOI requests, what is considered public record, and appeals processes, among other topics. This includes information about accessing data and electronic records.

Society of Professional Journalists FOI for Pros lays out the process of filing a FOI request in the US, from understanding relevant law to wording requests and handling denials.

How to get a faster FOIA response. Tips for getting a reply when an agency won’t answer your public records request by Muckrock.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Republish this article


Material from GIJN’s website is generally available for republication under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. Images usually are published under a different license, so we advise you to use alternatives or contact us regarding permission. Here are our full terms for republication. You must credit the author, link to the original story, and name GIJN as the first publisher. For any queries or to send us a courtesy republication note, write to hello@gijn.org.

Read Next

Data journalism training class at Izmir University of Economics in Türkiye

Data Journalism Reporting Tools & Tips

Tips for Using Data in a Small Newsroom

Small newsrooms need to focus on the importance of data use more than ever — but they often face numerous hurdles, including a lack of funding and limited human resources.