State officials in Virginia scrambling to keep documents from the press. The governor’s office directing an agency to misrepresent open records laws. Local reporters pushing back at agency flacks about how to interpret those laws. And a response to a big Freedom of Information Act request from a newspaper that exposed how it all went down behind the scenes.
That’s what readers got yesterday in a story by Patrick Wilson of The Virginian-Pilot. It’s a piece that shows how public officials can skirt open records laws, but also highlights how pressure from journalists who know the law—and their unwillingness to accept unsatisfactory responses—can result in the release of information.