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Whatever you're trying to learn about the world-as a journalist or as an informed citizen- public records often hold the key. But what records, where? And how to get them? It starts with understanding the Freedom of Information Act, but what you really need are strategies for dealing with the officials who stand between you and the information you seek. Gaining access to records is an art, one that requires an organized approach and a good understanding of human behavior. The Art of Access is a how-to guide for putting the law into action and using ingenuity to pry records loose. Building on their own experience and interviews with more than 100 practitioners, FOI experts and longtime journalists David Cuillier and Charles Davis help you rethink the information-gathering process and develop a document state of mind. With Cuillier and Davis's strategies, get ready to: - overcome roadblocks and illegal denials; - better understand government officials' perspectives so you can more successfully work with them; - find more and better online resources and mine them effectively; and write document-based stories that resonate with readers. A Pro Tips feature showcases advice from some of the best in the business, from media lawyers and prominent journalists to a private investigator and other access experts. At the end of each chapter, a Try It! section offers exercises and story ideas that will empower you to start finding and using documents right away. Appendixes include a comprehensive list of online FOI resources as well as an antated Record Album that guides you A-Z to records on everything from abandoned buildings and air quality to workplace safety and zoning. The Art of Access Blog! www.theartofaccess.com Visit the authors' blog for updates to the book's handy Record Album, linking readers to hundreds of sources for public records. Also find story ideas, tips, as well as course activities and assignments.
David Cuillier, Ph.D., is former president and chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' national Freedom of Information Committee and is a newsroom FOI trainer for SPJ. He gathered public records as a government reporter and city editor for a dozen years at daily newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. He is an associate professor and director of journalism at the University of Arizona, teaching computer-assisted reporting, public affairs reporting and access to information. He is a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition board and has testified before Congress regarding the Freedom of Information Act. Charles N. Davis, Ph.D., is the Dean of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. He was appointed in 2013, after a long career in journalism. Davis worked for ten years as a journalist after his graduation from North Georgia College, working for newspapers, magazines and a news service in Georgia and Florida before leaving full-time journalism to complete a masters degree from the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and to earn a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Florida. He spent 14 years as a faculty member, including four as department chair at the Missouri School of Journalism. Davis also spent five years at Mizzou as Executive Director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. His teaching awards include the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Teacher of the Year Award in 2008, the Provost's Award for Junior Faculty Teaching in 2001, and the University of Missouri Alumni Association's Faculty/Alumni Award in 2008. In 2016 he was awarded the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communication Alumni of Distinction Award.