On the Record – All statements are subject for use in the story. Everything a source says or emails you is quotable. Done through use of a recording during an interview. Done over the phone. Done by taking notes It is obvious that you are a reporter and that the conversation is an interview.
The entire or portions of a conversations are not quotable by request from the source. OR The content of the interview can be used to investigate information but the source wants to remain anonymous.
Can be tricky to know when to use it. Best thing to do is ask the source what the information is first. Then ask why they don’t want to be quoted or they don’t want to be tied to it. Next, if the information they give you is concrete and can lead you to documents that prove their point then maybe it’s worth using. If not, then not worth chasing.
States that each agency shall make available documents and information pertaining to all reports, rules, rulings, procedures, decisions and supporting documentation, administrative staff volumes and instructions to staff that may affect the public.
Copies must be made available in hard copy or in a digitized format. They agency must respond to your original request within 20 business days. (Rule of thumb is 10). They can respond either with the information, or a general response saying they are working on your request. The response may be a “no” and they can ask the Texas Attorney General for permission to withhold the information.
If they ask the Att. General for permission to withhold the information they must state in their response to you WHY. It can take the Att. Gen. up to two months to make his decision. In the mean time you write a story stating that the agency is asking to withhold the information. And try to find other ways to obtain it, esp if it’s public information.
Can cost. You need to state how much you are willing to pay up front and negotiate with them. You can request that they waive the fees because you are a member of the news media and the information is in the interest of the general public.
Similar to FOIA Agency has 10 days to respond. No cost is incurred under the act. Any information collected, assembled, or maintained by or for a governmental body is subject to the Public Information Act. The format (paper, electronic, microfilm, etc.) of the record does not affect its status as a public record.
The term "governmental body" encompasses all Texas public entities at the state and local levels. It does not include the judiciary. Private citizens/companies - The Public Information Act does not apply, however, to private persons or businesses simply because they provide goods or services under a contract with a governmental body.
The request must be in writing and must be addressed to the governmental body. While the request does not need to be addressed to any particular person, it is a good practice to clearly label your correspondence as a "Public Information Request" or "Open Records Request." Requests sent via fax or email must be addressed to the public information officer or to the person designated by that officer to receive such requests.
Make your requests Clear and understandable. Use the phrase “and/or” Use the phrase “any and all” If you do not use the above phrases the agency will say, “oh but you didn’t ask for this in your request.”
A governmental body is forbidden from inquiring about the purpose for which the records will be used. However, if a request is unclear or very broad, the governmental body may ask the requestor to more clearly identify or narrow his or her request. Additionally, a governmental body may require additional identifying information to determine that the requestor is eligible to receive certain types of information.
Student’s names, health records, human resource records. FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – protects the privacy of a student’s education records.
Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Simply put medical information is not on the record unless the patient gives the Doctor the OK to release it in some instances. Under the Act doctors must protect their patient’s medical records.
Do not give out their names and numbers, even if it’s a good cause. If an agency asked who gave you this information you must not tell them who because they will be subject to retaliation. Do NOT give out your notes or let someone else read and compare what they have to what you have.
Do not give out your recordings. In some cases your records may be subpoenaed – This can only be done if the law has tried all other methods of research to obtain the information.
Passed in 2009, protects journalists from testifying in court, and protect tv stations from giving up unaired video and the concealed ID of a person. In criminal cases, a journalist can protect a source’s identity unless the reporter witnesses a felony or received a confession to a felony, or there is probable cause to think a felony was committed. If the information cannot be gotten in another way, the reporter can be called to testify. The reporter also can be forced to identify a source to prevent death or substantial physical harm.
Remember your stories are DUE Sunday evening at 9 p.m. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.com For Tuesday – Bring in two story pitches. For Tuesday – Read the online readings on The Texas Shield Law FERPA, HIPPA and PIA And of course current events quiz. So read the news.