From Our Handbooks & Guides

AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite
Since stringent medical privacy regulations went into effect in 2003, the media have been forced to learn the new rules, work around them in some cases, and in others battle them in court. Yet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's privacy rule remains a prickly issue for reporters, hampering routine reporting assignments and big investigative pieces.
Confidentiality issues and access to police investigation records Fall 2010 · Published by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press · © 2010 For more information on police and personnel records, see the Open Government Guide on our website at This guide was researched and written by the Reporters Committee fellow Christine Beckett. Publication was funded by a grant from the McCormick Foundation.
As recent history shows us, few stories are more important to the every day lives of Americans than those that deal with life-and-death struggles of the business community. For those reporters who have made a career of business news coverage, this guide describes the tip of the iceberg of knowledge. But for those just beginning, or reporters who cover business only occasionally, this guide to business records and proceedings hopefully will serve as a basic “how-to” guide that helps you get started.
How a steady stream of laws, regulations and judicial decisions have eroded reporting on important issues By Jennifer LaFleur The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press © 2002, 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. All rights reserved. No part of this booklet may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher. Additional copies of this report may be obtained from: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209. Phone: (703) 807-2100.
A state-by-state guide to obtaining government data Reporters have a tool that allows them to report on entire populations and do original analysis on a subject for their stories, rather than relying solely on anecdotes. Computer-assisted reporting helps journalists do important stories that otherwise would not be covered. In 1999, reporters for the Miami Herald used voter databases to show widespread fraud in the city’s mayoral election. The series overturned the election results and won the staff the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.
Please visit the for more details and the latest information about FOIA.  Every journalist who requests records from the federal government through the Freedom of Information Act should be familiar with its administrative appeals process. Unfortunately, for various reasons, federal agencies at times fail to adhere to FOIA’s disclosure requirements. When this occurs, journalists are not without recourse. They can appeal adverse decisions to higher authorities within an agency and often must in order to enforce their rights.   
This map shows the current status of state legislation and police department policies regarding public access to police body-worn cameras (“bodycams” or “BWCs”) around the United States under public records laws. See more notes below.