What you can learn from BuzzFeed’s public records strategy: Let lawyers play ‘bad cop’ and understand agencies’ motivations

BuzzFeed is trying to improve the public records process by creating a “FOIA-friendly newsroom”: In the last year, it’s been able to obtain 71,000 pages of documents and five databases from 62 agencies in 22 states through FOIA requests. Kelly Hinchcliffe explains what other journalists can learn from BuzzFeed’s strategy: BuzzFeed files three to five public records requests each day, working on stories with shorter turnaround times while waiting on requests that take longer. And, BuzzFeed reporter Chris McDaniel emphasizes the importance of understanding agencies’ motivations for releasing (or stalling on) public records requests.