Tag Archives: FOIA without the Lawyer

11 FOI tips and other highlights from ‘FOIA Without the Lawyer’

FOIA Without the Lawyer

This was first posted on the Help Me Investigate blog a couple years ago. I thought it was about time I should cross-post it here also.

A natural companion to Heather Brooke’s introductory Your Right To Know, FOIA Without the Lawyer addresses the challenges that come after the FOI is submitted: the niggling exemptions and excuses used by public bodies to avoid supplying information requested under the Act. Continue reading

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5 tips for a data journalism workflow: part 2 – anticipating problems and collaboration

In my last post I wrote about how using feeds and social bookmarking can make for a quicker data journalism workflow. In this second part I look at how to anticipate and prevent problems; and how collaboration can improve data work.

Workflow tip 3. Anticipate problems

A particularly useful habit of successful data journalists is to think ahead in the way you request data. For example, you might want to request basic datasets now that you think you’ll need in future, such as demographic details for local patches.

You might also want to request the ‘data dictionary‘ for key datasets. This lists all the fields used in a particular database. For example, did you know that the police have a database for storing descriptions of suspects? And that one of the fields is shoe size? That could make for quite a quirky story. Continue reading

Three book reviews: leaks, FOI, and surveillance

Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark book cover
This Machine Kills Secrets book cover

If you’re interested in leaks, surveillance or FOI, three book reviews I wrote over the last two months on the Help Me Investigate blog recently might interest you:

7 laws journalists now need to know – from database rights to hate speech

Law books image by Mr T in DC

Image by Mr T in DC

When you start publishing online you move from the well-thumbed areas of defamation and libel, contempt of court and privilege and privacy to a whole new world of laws and licences.

This is a place where laws you never knew existed can be applied to your work – while other ones can come in surprisingly useful. Here are the key ones:

Continue reading