Hello. My name is Kelly, and I’m a public records geek. Why would a woman in her 20s care so much about the Freedom of Information Act and state public records laws? Simple. I’m a journalist, and I hope through my blogs you will care as much about the wonderful world of public information as I do.
My passion began in college while I was interning at NBC News in Washington. I was able to do so many amazing things that summer – meet (and get coffee for) Tom Brokaw, sit in the freezing cold studio and watch Tim Russert work his magic on Meet the Press and attend a press briefing at the White House.
But, in the end, the most rewarding thing I did that summer was sit on the phone for hours, trying desperately to get fast food inspection reports from around the country. Dateline NBC producers asked me and the 10 other interns to get the reports. (I don’t remember the exact number of interns, but there were a lot of us vying for attention.)
I quickly learned that each state had different rules about releasing public info, and not everyone was willing to give up the goods so easily. Some officials even refused to let me see the documents, which I kindly reminded them are a matter of PUBLIC record.
But, our hard work eventually paid off and the Dateline story about dirty fast food restaurants ended up winning a national award.
Since then, I have had many more run-ins with uncooperative officials (more on that later). But I also discovered that public records requests can expose some amazing information that can help, and sometimes hurt, people (more on that later as well.)
Till then, I hope you will take this new blogging journey with me and see what we can uncover.
* Thanks to my friend, online community strategist Angela Connor, for inspiring me to write a blog about what I love.