Saturday, January 31, 2009

J-Lab offers a sunshine guide to help citizen journalists cover government

Just released: "The Citizen Journalist's Guide to Open Government," a multimedia module from J-Lab's Knight Citizen News Network.

A press note from 1978-Pulitzer-Prizer Jan Schaffer, J-Lab's executive director, says the module was produced by Geanne Rosenberg, who is "a lawyer and the founding chair of Baruch College’s new undergraduate Department of Journalism and the Writing Professions... It includes input and video interviews from top media law experts around the country."
The guide features a unique interactive map that tells citizens how they can locate open-government information on each of the 50 state Web sites. Easy-to-find information on either the Governor’s or State Attorney General’s Web site gets a thumbs-up ranking. Hard-to-find information earns a thumbs down. Users can:
  • Obtain local, state and federal government records.
  • Appeal when a records request is denied.
  • Take steps if they are excluded from a meeting.
  • Learn what’s allowed in their state.
  • Understand access to court proceedings.
  • Link to more information.

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