Local reporting on the lighter side

Local reporting on the lighter side

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Just as in the federal level, innovative public records requests are shedding a new - and often surprising - light on local government.

  • Traffic violation data released to the New York Times reveal a marked increase in the number of issued speeding tickets around the release of each film in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.

Example Request: Traffic violation data

  • Financial records released to Tom Nash reveal that the revisionist Civil War drama “Field of Lost Shoes,” written by a Virginia energy executive, received $1 million in public funds from the Virginia Film Office.

Example Request: Film funding/tax incentives

  • Photographs released to William Pierce capture an EMS training exercise in Delaware County, Ohio in which volunteers helped simulate a zombie outbreak.

Example Request: Training exercise photos

  • Permits and impound lists released to Lucas Larson reveal how cities all over the country prepared for the sudden onslaught of e-scooters.

Example Requests: e-scooter permits/Impound lists

  • Press releases and incident reports regarding the dangers of Halloween candy released to Paxtyn Merten revealed a lot of fears over marijuana-infused candies, but no recorded incidents.

Example Requests: Halloween candy danger press releases/incidents

But for all the challenges agencies put up to access records, persistence and creativity often lead to important releases that shed new light on government, our communities, and our country. Visit https://muck.rocks to see a random idea from our new database of public records requests that have worked — and sample text you can use to file similar requests in your community.

Heavy-hitting national reporting

Light-hearted looks into the federal government

State-level stories that made an impact

Check out our new site for FOIA Inspiration

Image via U.S. National Archives Flickr