Blogs

A view from both sides of a FOIA request

Truth in the Field

By Cherise Newsome

There are two sides to every FOIA request. I’ve seen them both.

As the public information officer for Portsmouth Public Schools, I serve as our FOIA compliance officer. Therefore, I manage the requests that come into the school division. I’ve been here about six months, and I’ve logged more than 50 requests of various complexity.

Trade secrets exemptions discussion open to public

Join in the discussion with Virginia's Freedom of Information Advisory Council to determine how to define which business records may be blocked from public access. The meeting, which is open to all, is Monday, May 15, in the Virginia State Capitol.

Responding to denials to public records requests

Anyone who has requested public records regulalry has faced denials from government offices. An open government activist discusses how best to manage and respond to denials.

Education privacy law used as excuse to used to conceal records

Education privacy laws, while intended as protections for students' records, are being used by institutions to conceal wrongdoing and mismanagement.

Using Virginia's Freedom of Information Act

In the latest installment of Truth in the Field, a veteran journalist explains the basics of how to use Virginina's Freedom of Information Act and where to go for help

Put government spending information online

Being able to find information online is becoming the default expectation. Government spending should be no different.

Truth in the Field debut

Shelley Kimball

Welcome to VCOG new blog, Truth in the Field, a series of columns that explain how journalists, citizens, academics, and activists have accessed and used government information.

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes.
 
Last year, a Senate subcommittee on FOIA advanced one bill after another that restricted the public’s access to government information. It recommended a bill to exempt police names, one to limit which state salaries could be released and in what format, and one that created a month-long procedural requirement where the government would ask private businesses if it was OK to release records.
 
This year?
 

2016 open government award winners

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016 open government awards. The awards are given to individuals or organizations who have made use of public information laws to keep government accountable and to inform their fellow citizens.

A FOIA story

I don’t usually repost full copies of news stories, but this one is especially noteworthy as a snapshot of how FOIA transactions can unspool. This is a reporter trying to get a state agency report, but the same back and forth, same push and pull, can be experienced by requesters at all levels of government and all corners of the state. Even when the law or an exemption is used correctly, it is still often difficult to follow the process and understand why confidentiality is needed when it isn’t mandated.
 
 
 

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