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Category: Members

The News-Press: Open access, records are essential to democracy

BY TERRY EBERLE What are public officials afraid of? Why do they spend so much time fighting openness? Let the sunshine in. The latest example is with Edison State College. We have been asking for public records for more than 10 weeks and they are just dribbling in a few at a time. Now we…
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The St. Petersburg Times: Top adviser avoids creating public records as she shapes Gov. Rick Scott’s policy, e-mails show

BY MICHAEL C. BENDER Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau TALLAHASSEE — When U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office tried to contact Gov. Rick Scott’s top lieutenant, Mary Anne Carter offered her cell number, her state e-mail address and a warning. “I rarely check and almost never respond to work e-mail because of the open records law,” Carter wrote…
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The Associated Press: Florida House votes to keep death photos secret

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS he Florida House has passed a bill that would exempt photos, videos and audio recordings of deaths from the state’s public records law. The 111-6 roll call Wednesday sent the bill (HB 411) to the Senate, which is scheduled to take up the legislation later this week. Read more here.

Orlando Sentinel: Local leaders pledge accessibility, legislators undermine the principle

EDITORIAL Open government is a constitutional right in Florida, but you might never know it from watching state lawmakers. Lately they’ve been indifferent or even hostile to this principle. Lawmakers have left it up to more enlightened leaders, such as those in Sanford, to stand up for open government. Late last month, Sanford’s mayor and…
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The Tampa Tribune: Commission adopts countywide public records policies

BY MIKE SALINERO Florida’s open records law allows any resident to inspect and copy most government records without question. The person requesting the records doesn’t even have to give a name. But the application of the law often varies, not only between local governments in different parts of the state, but between different agencies in…
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Naples Daily News: Records requests Governor’s office policy blocks public’s sunshine

Claiming a “tremendous increase in public records requests” that are taking “a great toll on existing information technology and other labor resources,” the office of Gov. Rick Scott recently announced a new policy establishing procedures and fees for responding to requests for copies of public documents. Purportedly to reduce the cost to taxpayers in general…
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Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Paige St. John awarded 2011 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism

For a distinguished example of investigative reporting by an individual or team, presented as a single article or series, using any available journalistic tool including text reporting, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or any combination of those formats, in print or online or both, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Awarded to Paige St. John of…
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Pensacola News Journal: Pensacola aims to increase access to public records

BY JAMIE PAGE The Pensacola City Council today will discuss proposed changes to make it easier for citizens to get public records and to make their views heard. City Council President Maren DeWeese said the policy changes are designed “to create a more transparent city government and give citizens greater access to public information.” Read…
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AP wins Polk Award for Gulf oil spill coverage

The Associated Press staff has won the George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting for its “colossal effort” covering the worst oil spill in U.S. history, said Long Island University, which oversees the awards. The AP was the first news organization to report the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that caused the 206-million-gallon (780-million…
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St. Petersburg Times’ journalists win top investigative reporting honors

BY TIMES STAFF Three St. Petersburg Times journalists have won a 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors award for “Under the Radar,” their investigation into a bogus Navy veterans charity and its elusive founder. Recently retired reporter Jeff Testerman, news researcher John Martin and former editor Richard Bockman are sharing the IRE award in the category…
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