Presentation on theme: "Fact-Up: Fact-Checking & FOIA Requests Presented at NCOR 2006NCOR by Radical Reference librariansRadical Reference Jenna FreedmanJenna Freedman and Dena."— Presentation transcript:
Fact-Up: Fact-Checking & FOIA Requests Presented at NCOR 2006NCOR by Radical Reference librariansRadical Reference Jenna FreedmanJenna Freedman and Dena Marger
why fact check? Someone other than the reporter filing the story should verify all factual material prior to publication so that: – The work cant be dismissed as propaganda or rumor – Legal risks associated with printing inaccuracies can be avoided – An even more interesting story might be discovered – Sources are kept happy – Embarrassmentor worsecan be avoided – Determine and highlight all facts in a story – Can tighten writing – Go beyond spelling and dateslook for causal links, attributions, reporter assumptions, facts contained within quotes, and memories – Evaluate sources used by the reporter – Confirm everything, using multiple sources for controversial facts Much of this information can be found in an easy to read book,The Fact Checker's Bible, by Sarah Harrison Smith. Random House 2004.The Fact Checker's Bible
fact tracking Organize sources used to write the story – Contact info for interviewees – Website addresses – Copies of documentation Confirm quotes
a practical how-to Read the article through once Go at it with your highlighter pen on the second pass Organize into types of sources required for verifying – Telephone SuperPages, WhoWhereSuperPagesWhoWhere – Databases – Internet (Librarians Internet Index, Dogpile, Advanced Google)Librarians Internet IndexDogpileAdvanced Google – Reference book (encyclopedia, dictionary, atlas –could be print or online – Others Sample
ask the feds FOIA: Freedom of Information Act FOIA State versions of the same, e.g. FOIL in NYFOIL Government Documents – depository libraries (most of the big ones, academic and public) have to let you in to use them.
FOIA signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966 and went into effect the following year. Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments were signed by President Bill Clinton on October 2, October 12, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft released a new FOIA memorandum 2002 amendments - Prohibition on Compliance with Requests for Information Submitted by Foreign Governments History
Freedom of Information Act (1966) mandates federal government agencies to comply with public solicitation of information. Agencies are also subject to penalties for hindering the process of a petition for information. However, there are nine exemptions specified and in all cases, the President has unlimited power in declaring something off-limits or necessarily classified in the concern of national safety. The FOIA does not apply to Congress or the courts, nor does it apply to records of state or local governments. However, nearly all state governments have their own FOIA-type statutes. Department of Justice Frequently Requested Records What is FOIA?
FOIA Exemptions Exemption (b)(1) - National Security Information Exemption (b)(2) - Internal Personnel Rules and Practices – "High" (b)(2) - Substantial internal matters, disclosure would risk circumvention of a legal requirement – "Low" (b)(2) - Internal matters that are essentially trivial in nature. Exemption (b)(3) - Information exempt under other laws Exemption (b)(4) - Confidential Business Information Exemption (b)(5) - Inter or intra agency communication that is subject to deliberative process, litigation, and other privileges Exemption (b)(6) - Personal Privacy Exemption (b)(7) - Law Enforcement Records that implicate one of 6 enumerated concerns Exemption (b)(8) - Financial Institutions Exemption (b)(9) - Geological Information
Sample FOIA request letters from the Freedom of Information Center at the University of Missouri School of Journalism Sample FOIA request letters Questions and Answers on the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, 1992 Questions and Answers What about costs for getting records under the FOIA? How long will it take to answer my request? What happens if the agency refuses to give me the information? What can I do if my appeal is rejected? Make sure the documents you want are not already available elsewhere. When in doubt, ask a Government Documents Librarian! FAQs
State and local government information is not available through the Freedom of Information Act, but each state has its own Freedom of Information laws. Freedom of Information What about petitioning the FBI or CIA? – How to file a FOIA request from CIAFOIA request from CIA – FBI FOIA website FBI FOIA obtaining other information
notes Pdfs preferable to html docs.edu,.gov sites Reputation of sources Evaluating web resources tutorial and exercisetutorial and exercise Ask Radical Reference This presentation online Look for us in the streets during demonstrations. Well be wearing stuff with the Radical Reference logo.