The Art of Access
Strategies for Acquiring Public Records
- David Cuillier - University of Arizona, USA
- Charles N. Davis - University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
“The Art of Access is a must-have book for any journalism student or professional reporter. It will ensure that a journalist understands the importance of authentic documents to establish the credibility of news stories and how crucial it is to obtain those documents no matter the obstacles public officials may create to prevent access.”
—Brant Houston, University Of Illinois
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? Gaining access to records is an art, one that requires an organized approach and a good understanding of human behavior. The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records, Second Edition is a how-to guide for putting the law into action and using ingenuity to pry records loose. FOI experts and longtime journalists David Cuillier and Charles N. Davis present strategies for dealing with the officials who stand between you and the information you seek. They explore new developments in technology and research and the latest online innovations and tools to help you rethink the information-gathering process and develop a document state of mind.
"Prying loose documents from government agencies is a hard-fought battle. But The Art of Access will prepare you for war. It's hands down the quintessential guide to understanding arcane public records laws so citizens and journalists can prevail in their quest for information."
"The Art of Access is a refreshingly practical guide to real-world transparency, explaining the tactics that will help journalists, students, and everyday citizens get the records to which they're entitled. My copy is dog-eared from regular readings and it's on every new staffer's desk on day one at my office. This new edition takes an already amazing resource and helps requesters navigate our increasingly vital field with fresh voices, new strategies, and an understanding of how transparency is changing — and how it isn't."
"This is the go-to book for any journalist or citizen seeking guidance on successfully obtaining documents and data from government agencies. Its practical, step-by-step approach shows how to prepare and present Freedom of Information requests that can overcome the hurdles set up by reluctant or overworked officials - whether those officials are local, state or federal. The Art of Access is especially deft at presenting the nuances of negotiating for public documents, which is a skill often called upon. All in all, this is an invaluable book upon which to rely if we want to keep our government accountable and our democracy safe."
"This clear, concise and timely book provides a step-by-step guide for turning the over-hyped rhetoric of transparency into a much-needed reality. Cuillier and Davis, both veterans of the access wars, provide journalists and citizens alike with the keys to unlocking the secrets held in public records that government officials too often like to stow away. Replete with tips from professional journalists, a bevy of relevant websites and many handy checklists, this book is a practical guide for navigating the often bumpy road to getting the government records you want and need."
"Open government laws such as the Freedom of Information Act provide us with powerful political tools, but we don’t always know how to use them. This superb handbook distills the most effective techniques for gaining access to official records. It will help readers become more skillful requesters, and better citizens."
"Art of Access is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how access to government information really happens on the ground. This book provides not only a primer on our rights to information and how to exercise them, but also a comprehensive review of both the challenges seekers are likely to face and how to overcome them -- or to move sideways and use another path around the obstacle. While this book is of obvious value to journalism students and practitioners, individuals outside the journalistic community who are new to the art of getting access to government information will especially benefit from the authors' thoughtful and eminently readable navigation of the maze."
“We’re are at a time when journalistic credibility is challenged by fake news and media illiteracy. Open government and advanced information gathering practices are the key to a healthy society. This book is the most comprehensive examination of investigative techniques one is likely to find. It is filled with practical tips and insights to truly hold stakeholders accountable.”
“This text is equally informative and engaging. The language is clear and wonderfully conversational. The ideas are practical and the tips very beneficial. We are reminded just how important it is to hold our politicians and leaders accountable to the people, as well as how mighty the pen can be.”
“This is a thorough guide in how to grow as a watchdog or investigative journalist.”
Content very good, but not pertinent to the course.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1. The Making of the Modern Middle East
Chapter 2. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict