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TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Wave of recent court rulings eases computer-assisted reporters' access to government databases

(07/09/13 5:13pm)

Remember that iconic scene in "All the President's Men" where hours tick by at the Library of Congress as reporters Woodward and Bernstein flip through mounting piles of index cards, each one memorializing a book requested by the White House? Chances are if Post reporters need that same information today, it's kept in an Excel spreadsheet that can be sorted, searched and alphabetized in a matter of seconds. Electronic databases are making it possible for journalists to analyze and present information that previously would have overwhelmed the limits of human patience.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Illinois ruling confirms U can FOIA txts -- 2G2BT

(07/30/13 9:59pm)

The public is entitled to know what city council members are talking about during meetings. Even when their thumbs are doing the talking. That's the takeaway from a new ruling from an Illinois court, which affirms that messages exchanged by government officials -- even on their personal cellphones -- are public records that must be produced on request. In City of Champaign v.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Public records -- delivered hot and oven-fresh... or they're free?

(09/03/13 1:04pm)

Next to waiting for the cable TV installer, there's not much more irritating for us first-worlders than waiting for the public records that never come. Many state open-records laws require an agency to respond to a request for public documents within three, five or 10 days.