Monday, March 16, 2015

Media Complains About Public Records

Today the News & Record is writing about media complaints about delays in public records requests.

"Journalists in newsrooms across the state say even simple and routine requests for public records from the McCrory administration are often met with delays of weeks or months.

“There are times we have submitted requests and waited so long for them to be filled, that the interest in that story, and most importantly the impact of that story, is gone,” said Rick Gall, the news director at WRAL-TV in Raleigh.

Rick Thames, executive editor of the Charlotte Observer, said too many state staffers have begun to treat processing records requests as a hassle, rather than a core part of job duties.

“(They) have actually pointed to individual citizens and said, ‘We don’t have time for all these people lining up for public records,’ ” Thames said. “And I’m thinking: ‘Well that’s exactly what the point of the law is.”

And thus the reason all of these records aren't freely available online to anyone who wants to search for them in a public digital archive any time they want them.

The solution to the problem:

If Patty Boy or the leaders of any municipal government in the State were truly committed to transparency he/they would push for all e-mails at all levels of government to be automatically posted to online data bases so that anyone could search for them thereby eliminating the need and the cost of having state and municipal employees to do the job.

As a matter of fact: the IT department of the City of Greensboro has already indicated it is doable, that the records are already online, just not available without a password.

It's really that simple.