Guides

Publications by category

General
The First Amendment Handbook
The News Media & The Law

Libel and Privacy
SLAPP Stick
Can We Tape?
Photographers Guide to Privacy

Reporter's Privilege
Privilege Compendium
Agents of Discovery

Freedom of Information
A Reporter's Guide to Medical Privacy Law
Access to Electronic Communications
Access to Police Records                                Federal FOIA Appeals Guide  
Federal Open Government Guide
FERPA, HIPAA & DPPA
Open Government Guide
Private Eyes
Privatization v. The Public's Right to Know
Sunshine, Inc.
The Lost Stories

Court access
Open Courts Compendium
A Reporter's Guide to Military Justice
Access to Juror Questionnaires
Access to Juvenile Justice
Access to Terrorism Proceedings
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Anonymous Juries
Gag Orders
Grand Juries
Judicial Speech
Jury Records and Proceedings
Off Base: Military Court Dockets
Online Access to Plea Agreements
Secret Dockets
Secret Juries
Warrants & Wiretaps
White Paper: Military Dockets

Newsgathering
A Reporter's Field Guide
A Reporter's Guide to American Indian Law
Homefront Confidential
Police, Protesters and the Press

(View our webinars on media law topics.)

The News Media & The Law
Our quarterly magazine, featuring articles on current controversies and interesting developments in First Amendment and Freedom of Information law that affect the news media.

The First Amendment Handbook (7th Edition, January 2011)
(Download/View Free PDF)
This booklet is designed to provide a basic primer on the laws affecting reporters' rights to gather and disseminate news. American journalists need to know their rights, and how to fight back when those rights are threatened; The First Amendment Handbook is an important weapon in that fight.
You can also buy print copies of this book from our order form.

Federal Open Government Guide (10th Edition, 2009)
(Download/View Free PDF)
(Download/View Free ePUB (for tablets/iPads))
Designed as a general "do-it-yourself" guide to using the federal Freedom of Information Act and other federal access laws, this booklet describes how to use the laws as effective investigative tools, and provides sample letters, forms and directories to assist you in dealing with the government promptly and effectively.
You can also buy print copies of this book from our order form.

All publications alphabetically:

A Reporter's Field Guide (Winter 2006)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A guide to covering the news in public places, private property, government buildings, and more.

A Reporter's Guide to American Indian Law (Fall 2006)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at the extend of openness laws and other First Amendment protections on land controlled by American Indians.

A Reporter's Guide to Medical Privacy Law (Summer 2002)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A guide to HIPAA, restrictive medical rules that will affect how journalists cover stories.

A Reporter's Guide to Military Justice (Summer 2006)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at information access rights within the military justice system.

Access to Electronic Communications (Spring 2009)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A state-by-state guide to obtaining access to e-mail and other electronic communications of government officials.

Access to Police Records (Winter 2008)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Examines the laws in all states concerning access to records from police files.

Agents of Discovery (2003)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A Report on the Incidence of Subpoenas Served on the News Media in 2001.

Can We Tape? (new edition titled "Reporter's Recording Guide")
(Download/View Free PDF)
A state-by-state guide to laws on taping phone calls and conversations and how they affect newsgathering.

FERPA, HIPAA & DPPA (Spring 2010)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A brief examination of how three federal privacy laws, governing academic, health and driver's records, affect newsgathering.

Federal FOIA Appeals Guide (1st Edition, 2012)
Designed as a "do-it-yourself" guide to help journalists draft federal Freedom of Information Act administrative appeal letters, the guide details the various issues that often arise in FOIA denials. It dicusses how to appeal both substantive denials under the FOIA's nine exemptions as well as a variety of procedural-based denials.  

Homefront Confidential (5th Edition, September 2004)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A detailed report on the War on Terrorism's effect on newsgathering, release of public information, and the public's right to know. The report covers issues involving war reporting, pooling, state efforts to restrict information access, military tribunals, and the PATRIOT Act.

Open Courts Compendium (2011)
A state-by-state guide (still under development) to rules and case law governing access to civil and criminal court proceedings and records.

Open Government Guide (6th Edition, 2011)
A state-by-state guide to open meetings and open records laws.

Photographers Guide to Privacy (Fall 2007)
(Download/View Free PDF)
How laws on the right to privacy affect photojournalists.

Police, Protesters and the Press (Winter 2012)
(Download/View Free PDF)
How a wave of protests across the nation has tested police-press relations, and what it means for journalists who cover them.

Private Eyes (Fall 2010)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Confidentiality issues and access to police investigation records.

Privatization v. The Public's Right to Know (Summer 2007)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at how government out-sourcing of services affects access to records.

Privilege Compendium (1st Edition, 2003)
A detailed examination of the reporter's privilege and shield laws in each state and federal circuit, with practical information on seeking to quash a subpoena an appealing an order to testify or produce documents.

Reporter's Recording Guide (1st Edition, Summer 2012)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A state-by-state guide to laws on taping phone calls and conversations and how they affect newsgathering. (Previous editions titled "Can We Tape?")

SLAPP Stick (Summer 2011)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Fighting frivolous lawsuits against journalists

Secret Justice:
A series of reports on access to the judicial system

Access to Juror Questionnaires (Spring 2011)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A guide to access to juror questionnaires

Access to Juvenile Justice (Spring 2012)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A state-by-state guide to juvenile courts nationwide.

Access to Terrorism Proceedings (Winter 2002)
(Download/View Free PDF)
An examination of post-9/11 access to criminal proceedings, immigration hearings, and military tribunals.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (Fall 2001)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at the alternatives to court proceedings used by litigants, and how the media can fight to gain access.

Anonymous Juries (Fall 2000)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A report on a growing trend and advice to counteract it.

Gag Orders (Spring 2001)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Understanding and fighting judge's efforts to silence participants in the judicial process.

Grand Juries (Fall 2004)
(Download/View Free PDF)
An examination of issues surrounding access to information regarding grand juries.

Judicial Speech (Spring 2004)
(Download/View Free PDF)
An examination of the rules governing what judges can and cannot say to the news media.

Jury Records and Proceedings (Winter 2009)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Access issues concerning jurors.

Off Base: Military Court Dockets (Summer 2008)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A guide to access to military court dockets and proceedings

Online Access to Plea Agreements (Summer 2010)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A survey of federal court policies on sealing of plea and cooperation agreements.

Secret Dockets (Summer 2003)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at the courts that keep controversial cases shrouded from public view by never placing the case on a public docket.

Secret Juries (Summer 2005)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at the trend toward sealing jurors' identities, and what that means to covering the courts.

Warrants & Wiretaps (Winter 2010)
(Download/View Free PDF)
A look at the law governing access to search warrants, arrest warrants and wiretap transcripts.

Sunshine, Inc. (Summer 2009)
(Download/View Free PDF)
The basics of covering business organizations

The Lost Stories (November 2003)
(Download/View Free PDF)
How a steady stream of laws, regulations and judicial decisions have eroded reporting on important issues.

White Paper: Military Dockets (August 2008)
(Download/View Free PDF)
Examining the public's right of access to the workings of military justice.