The Texas Highway Patrol Museum was a weird place. It used to sit on a busy street corner near downtown San Antonio. Yet whenever I drove by, I hardly ever saw anyone inside. More than once I wondered, what’s the deal? I found the answers in the IRS Form 990 — the publicly available tax … Read more
It’s impossible to say enough good things about NICAR 2016, a journalism conference in Denver where more than a thousand attendees honed their data-wrangling skills. NICAR is all about finding good stories in data. But what stood out for me was a talk by investigative reporter Jason Leopold of Vice News about using the Freedom … Read more
Here are five shining examples of why this pesky-open government thing matters.
Hand it to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson — his feud with the Texas Attorney General and the San Antonio Express-News is, at the very least, exposing a flaw in the state’s open-records law. Adkisson doesn’t want to release private e-mails in which he discussed public business. The attorney general’s office told him he has … Read more
The motives of the person requesting the information has no bearing on whether a document is public.
Texas state officials surprised when public data is posted online by John Tedesco Karisa King and I were cleaning our corner of the newsroom last week, and I rediscovered this gem of an e-mail written by an official for the Texas Department of Insurance. The state agency oversees the amusement-ride industry. When a patron is … Read more
On March 26, City Hall reporter Josh Baugh got an adrenaline-pumping tip: FBI agents had seized files at the office of Fernando De León, a city official who reviewed permits for real estate development in San Antonio. The tip sparked a frantic series of phone calls that afternoon as Josh and I tried to figure … Read more
When I worked on this short article about CPS Energy and its incorrect claim that no one had ever been killed in an accident at a nuclear plant in the United States, I came across this YouTube video about a fatal accident at the SL-1 military facility in Idaho. That video was obtained by Public.Resource.Org … Read more
In the process of blogging about WOAI’s open-records battle with the Texas Department of Transportation, I had a chance to revisit the Web site set up by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. The foundation has completely revamped its old, sleepy site — check out how it looked as recently as 2008 in the … Read more
If you’ve ever had to deal with a government agency that tried to withhold public documents from you, check out Steve Myers’ interview with one of the authors of a new book and blog, The Art of Access. Instead of focusing on the intricacies of open-records laws, David Cuillier and Charles Davis write about the … Read more