Digging into public records
Practical advice and strategies for crafting public records requests, tracking them and holding officials’ feet to the fire. Includes strategies for dealing with excuses and obstacles from public officials who stand in your way of getting key documents and data.
Jennifer Smith Richards has been a data reporter at the Tribune since 2015. Smith Richards previously covered schools and education for more than a decade at newspapers in Huntington, W.Va.; Utica, N.Y.; Savannah, Ga.; and Columbus, Ohio. Her work has touched on everything from sexual abuse in schools to police accountability to school choice. @jsmithrichards
Matt Topic is a government transparency and media lawyer who has represented scores of clients in hundreds of state and federal transparency and First Amendment cases, usually at no cost. Matt was the attorney responsible for forcing the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in Chicago. His pursuit of Rahm Emanuel’s so-called private emails on behalf of the Better Government Association earned BGA the 2017 Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award from the SPJ.
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