Need an attorney to talk to about open records requests and laws? Come to Charleston, SC, on March 24

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Link HERE to register for the SPJ Region 3 Spring Conference

Also includes:

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“Ask an attorney: What are your rights as a professional journalist or freelance journalist in regard to open record requests?”

Frank LoMonte
Frank LoMonte

Every day more and more journalists are fighting the battle for open records requests in their community or state. Do you have questions for an attorney who could help you with those applications? What are your obstacles in receiving information and in a timely manner? What does your state laws actually say about the compliance of public records requests? 

As a professional freelance journalist you may not be directly connected with a specific newsroom or publication staff. But that doesn’t mean you don’t carry the rights to request and obtain open records. The rights are for all citizens including journalists. So, will an editor pay for the sometime additional cost of obtaining records for a freelance journalist? Will an editor stand behind your request and fortify that a particular publication is behind the request? Good questions. 

Open records artSo what are those laws that allows citizens (and freelance journalists) to obtain documentation to conduct research and investigative work for a client? Well, it depends upon the state. And as a newsroom or freelancer, you may not always be working for a client or source in your home state. 

Attorney Frank LoMonte will review your rights as a professional journalist to obtain public records and give tips on how to get around the obstacles involved with working with governmental agencies. If you have requested public records before, this is a great refresher course and you have an expert available to answer your questions. 

This session is not for asking questions about freelance contracts with editors or publishers.

Brechner logoFrank LoMonte was named the director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida in August 2017. At the Center, he supervises a staff of researchers working on projects to improve the rights of journalists, and all citizens, to obtain civically useful information. Previously, he was the executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. since 2008. During his tenure, he launched a number of major programs including the “New Voices” initiative that has resulted in enactment of fortified legal protections for student journalists in 13 states. Before joining the SPLC, LoMonte practiced law with Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP in Atlanta and clerked for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Prior to embarking on his legal career, he was an investigative journalists and political columnist.

The SPJ Region 3 Conference & Freelance Blitz will also provide:

LINK HERE TO REGISTER for the complete conference

Lunch included

Questions?? Contact Sharon Dunten at or text/phone (317) 410-7217. 

Society of Professional Journalists

Twitter  @spj_3