So far: 18 states, 8,833 miles, 37 sessions, 640 people (see schedule)
Martinsburg, WV — Occasionally you’ll run into some public officials who just don’t want to follow the law – knowingly denying information that is legally disclosable.
Time to take of the gloves and remind them who is boss – the public.
I talked with some excellent journalists today (Tuesday) from the Martinsburg (W.V.) Journal and Shepherdstown Chronicle. They talked about a struggle to get copies of work-related e-mails that were sent among public officials on their private e-mail accounts. The papers got the records. Here’s how:
Tip No. 38 – Bring in the attack dogs: If an agency is balking at giving out records that should be given out, call them up and talk about how your attorneys are ready to go to bat. Threat of lawsuit is very powerful. Of course, be ready to follow through. Another hard tactic is to apply public pressure by writing stories. Or create a running box on your editorial pages called “Days of Denial” where you have a one-paragraph summary of how an agency has refused to provide legally disclosable records with a big number each day representing how many days the agency has kept the information secret.
Wednesday: After driving through West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania (so nice and green, but then everything is green compared to southern Arizona), today I stopped in Allentown, Penn. On Wednesday I’ll do a session at the newspapers in East Brunswick, N.J., and then conduct an evening session for the New York City SPJ chapter, the Deadline Club. I’m looking forward to it, although the charge for parking for my car is more than what I’ve paid for hotel rooms in some towns!