Smaller news budgets, less ammunition for open records fights

Jason Wiederin | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | September 12, 2008

Beset by newsroom cutbacks and declining revenue, news groups are fighting fewer battles over public records -- and government officials are getting hip to the trend, according to a panel of journalists at a National Press Club event in Denver this week. 

Denver television reporter Brian Maass said that the government in the past understood the media would go to court if their requests were denied, according to a Press Club article. Now officials know media budgets are stretched thin, and a reporter's leverage in an open records dispute isn't what it was. 

"There's less fight in the media to battle for information," Maass said, according to the Press Club.  At the same time, Mark Cardwell, who is managing editor of the Denver Post, said newsrooms are supplementing their coverage with the work of “amateur journalists,” who go to events around town, like school board meetings, and then post the newsworthy bits on the paper's Web site.