Looking forward to the future of journalism

A new Web site for Freedom of Information

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 Internet Archive.

A new Web site for Freedom of Information   John TedescoThe foundation erased that static page and replaced it with social media offerings. The home page is a WordPress blog, and the foundation now has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

The new site makes it easier for people to see the foundation’s good work, and it offers tips for people interested in open government. For example, Executive Director Keith Elkins gives advice on YouTube about how to effectively use the Texas Public Information Act to obtain government records.

Related: How to research a property’s history using Bexar County’s free records search

Social media still gets a bad rap in some circles, especially in the media. But look at the before and after shots of the foundation’s Web site. It’s not hard to tell which one is more engaging, and which one does a better job explaining to people why open government matters.