IPRA Friday is coming to Taos on Friday, September 8. Join other journalists to talk about public records and access.
When: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: The Gorge Bar and Grill
The SPJ Rio Grande chapter is working to ensure you have the tools you need to do great journalism. We also have a fund available to help pay for public records requests. Read more about how to apply here
Reporting budgets are tight. Newsrooms and freelancers don’t always have money for public records requests.
The Society of Professional Journalists has got your back.
Thanks to a grant from the Thornburg Foundation, the Rio Grande Chapter of SPJ has a fund to help SPJ members in New Mexico and El Paso face down daunting record-request fees. It’s good through the end of 2017. (Rio Grande Chapter board members and their partners or relatives aren’t eligible to apply.)
We know how deadlines work and that you need the money fast. So here’s how this works:
1. The fund is available for SPJ Rio Grande Chapter members only. You can join here!
- In fewer than 500 words, tell us who you are, where your story is being published, what the public records are that you need and how much the agency is saying they’re going to cost you. (And don’t worry: We won’t spill your secrets or scoop your story.) Email your letter and request to firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com
- Once we’ve approved your request and you’ve received your documents, send us the original invoice and we’ll cut a check directly to the agency.
- First come, first serve through the end of 2017. Funds are limited.
The Society of Professional Journalists chose the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission for the 2016 Black Hole Award. The award draws attention to “government institutions or agencies for outright contempt of the public’s right to know.”
SPJ Rio Grande board president Laura Paskus nominated the ISC this year:
I’ve been a journalist for almost 15 years and have been covering this particular agency for that entire time. Over the past few years however, the agency has become increasingly secretive, in particular as the state has proposed building a controversial diversion on the Gila River, here in New Mexico.
Most recently, the agency refused to release an unlocked version of a spreadsheet to a citizen … and it took a US senator reading my story to get the citizen the records.
And the city of Hobbs, New Mexico was also a finalist for the 2016 Black Hole Awards. Read the full release from SPJ here.