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Tips for Obtaining Access to Public Records

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Fall 2000 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.

From the Fall 2000 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.

Check out your state’s open records laws through the Tapping Officials’ Secret link on the Reporters Committee website (www.rcfp.org/tapping).

Print out the law and take it to the agency from whom you are requesting records. Show the law to the records custodian if you have trouble accessing the records.

Take a written request for the records with you to the agency and leave it with the custodian if you have difficulty obtaining the records during your visit. A Freedom of Information letter generator is available on the Reporters Committee website (www.rcfp.org/foi_lett.html) in order to assist you.

Ask to see a supervisor if the first custodian you talk to denies you the records.

If you continue to have problems call the Reporters Committee legal defense hotline: 800-336-4243.