Final Report

This summer, Dr. Fink and I conducted a research assignment which involved how college journalists used Freedom of Information (FOI) laws when they are trying to request information pertaining to a story. Professor Fink and I wanted to see the interactions between college journalists and their institutions when it comes to the students trying to receive information.

College journalists and FOI laws has been a topic of interest to Dr.  Fink for some time now,  Dr. Fink also knows that I will be the editor-in-chief of The Pace Chronicle this fall, so she thought that I would be perfect to help her with this. project. We began by finding college journalists who filed FOI requests in the 2016-2017 school year, once we had ten we thought that would be a large enough sample size to move forward. We both decided that before we interview the ten subjects we need to come up with suitable questions that would help us obtain the information that we were looking for. Questions that Dr. Fink asked the ten subjects was stuff like what was the background information for that story, why they filed a FOI request, did they face any problems when they filed a request, and  did filing FOI requests affect their reporting. The information that we gathered was definitely a non-empirical approach because our methods was through analyzing the interviews that Dr. Fink did. Once all the interviews where transcribed myself and Dr. Fink went through each interview and choose the information that was suitable for our final presentation.

To summarize this project would be quite difficult because every subject had different experiences when dealing with FOI laws. Some subjects had an easy time obtaining information from their schools, and therefore it was much easier for them to report. However, some students had  a very difficult time  getting information from their university, and therefore is was much harder for them to report on stories. But it was very interesting to see how the universities reacted to requests from students. One scenario that came up frequently was Title IX requests and from what I gathered most universities were very hesitant to give over such information because when you think of Title IX and colleges it is such a heated issue it today’s society so to see how universities reacted to those requests was very interesting and telling.

Overall, I view this experience as a positive one because when I take over as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper the information that I have learned through this research project could become very valuable. Since I became a college journalist I have only filed one FOI request about a Pace student who was due in court last November so I think that it is safe to say that I need more experience. Through these interviews I learned what other college journalists had to go through in order to obtain the necessary information they needed to write a story, so I hope to apply that to this year. I also learned  through the difficulties that these journalists face and I will use that as helpful experience as well.

Second post for my summer research project

Recently I have been reviewing the interactions between Dr. Fink and former college journalists who were members of their student newspapers. I have been listening to the recorded interviews done by Dr. Fink and then I have been highlighting key components that was said by the former college journalists so it could be used in our findings.

My biggest question that I have from my research is that nine out of the ten interview subjects were at private schools, so I was curious to know that if public colleges ran into the same issues when it came to FOI. I wondered if it would be easier to request information at a public school because it is  government funded.

The biggest challenge I had in this project was finding people that met our requirements. Our requirements were that they had to have held a editor position for their college newspaper in the 2016-2017 academic year, and they have to have filled a FOI request. So finding people that fit that criteria was a bit difficult.

I learned how valuable it is to file FOI requests. Doing that can be a very valuable tool to journalists because it gives you access to information pertaining to your school or government. This upcoming semester when I am editor- in-chief of the Pace Chronicle  I will use FOI laws to my advantage.

Use of Freedom of Information Laws by college journalists

The title of the project I am doing with Dr. Fink is “use of Freedom of Information Laws by college journalists.” The objective of our project is to see how college journalists  have used  Freedom on Information (FOI) laws to help  benefit them when it comes to publishing  a story, along with the methods that these college journalists would use  in regards to FOI laws. As well has the difficulties that they ran into.

In the Fall I will be the editor-in-chief of The Pace Chronicle, so I hope that from learning how other college journalists used FOI laws to help write stories it will make stories better for myself and the rest of the chronicle staff.

In order to obtain this research I will take notice and listen to all the interviews that Dr. Fink does  with all of the college journalists and listen to the process they had to go through in terms of using FOI laws. What Professor Fink and I learn from the interviews we will apply to our project and I will apply it the school paper.