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Atlanta Paper Demonstrates Need for Open Records

Julia Wallace, editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, took a bold step Sunday to fight the trend towards secrecy bills being introduced by the legislature in Georgia.

In the left-hand column of the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution she wrote, what is, in essence, if not in fact, an editorial directing the paper’s readers to a two-page inside spread that touts all the stories in the last month that appeared thanks to Georgia’s open records act.

There were 10 such stories just in the last month.

The spread doesn’t just pat the newspaper on its own back, it also shows how citizens have used the open record laws to keep an eye on their government. Plus there’s How to Do It Yourself information for anyone interesting in using the Georgia Open Records Act, the Georgia Open Meetings Act, and the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

If newspapers are going to restore the trust they have to continue doing this aggressive kind of reporting, defending the First Amendment and reaching out to the public to show that they are a community partner.

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