Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Carnival of Open Records.
Here’s our second roundup of the best blog posts of the week from the FOIA-sphere.
Without further ado, let us consider the Best of the FOIA-Sphere where the theme this week is “thinking like a FOIAer”.
Chris Joyner at the Clarion-Ledger’s 1st amendment blog starts things off on the right foot by posting two entries between which your carnival editor cannot choose for general excellence. We just don’t have enough people and Grinding the Gears tell stories uncovered by open records request, and they also model how to think like a FOIAer.
Speaking of someone who thinks like a FOIAer, there’s last week’s STOTW award recipient Andy Thibault, who says in this post that politics and police work go hand in hand to protect everyone BUT the taxpayer and victims.
If more municipal records archivists followed the literature like Roger Matus, they would not listen to vendors who say they have to archive IMs. (Should transparency activists want them to archive IMs?)
Missouri Sunshine points out that when you’re a city clerk, it helps if you can think like a FOIAer. Training would help.
Og Blog: The state auditor in Washington is really thinking like a FOIAer–They sent out open records requests that looked like they came from an ordinary citizen. Why? To see how state agencies respond to open records requests that look like they come from regular citizens. Furiosity has ensued.
JamieB at Pass Open Records has evidently allowed his thinking to be influenced by those who think like FOIAers, claiming in a recent post that For a democracy to function smoothly, citizens need access to public information and notes several disturbing episodes whether the custodians of the records didn’t see things that way.
Tamara Thompson of PI Buzz gets that for every interesting story in the news, there’s always a way that public documents and open records can illuminate it.
I’m thinking like a FOIAer after reading FEMA reverses itself, wisely at the FOI Advocate blog. And what I’m thinking is, “Like, don’t these government agencies want people to know this stuff? Wouldn’t it be in everyone’s interest if they just cooperated? Why does a newspaper have to even bother filing these requests? Shouldn’t it all be on a website somewhere?”
FOI FYI has the scoop on a big win for public records from North Carolina pertaining to state salary databases.
Sometimes, part of FOIA thinking is thinking ahead to litigation, and Scott Hodes hopes that for a change, this one will make it into the courtroom instead of being settled.
Todd Wallack knows that for FOIA success, you have to have a place to communicate what you found and shares some surprising news about where that might be.
GeeGuy in Montana, trying to find out through open records from the city of Great Falls just what the story is with their coal plant contract, followed the advice encapsulated in Mr. Wallack’s post and has discovered that people are actually reading it.
Gilford Grok knows that for FOIA success, sometimes you have to write it all in a letter, baby.
Finally, although some people want important public documents and can’t get them, some people have important public documents and don’t read them.
And thus concludes our second Carnival of Open Records. I hope it has been an enjoyable and informative tour. We hope that more and more bloggers will start writing about FOIA (or filing open records requests and telling us about that). Next week’s edition will be hosted by Richard at the Sam Adams Tea Party blog. You can send the links to your best open records blog posts of the coming week here.
This carnival is registered at The Blog Carnival.