Workshop tonight!

I’m in the lab today catching up on posting stories to the web, but I’ll be back at 6 p.m. tonight for our next free workshop.

Carol Schlagheck, Eastern Michigan University journalism professor, will present “Citizen Journalists and FOIA,” a free workshop 6-8 p.m. at the Heritage Community Media Lab, located in the SPARK East building, 215 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti.

Participants can also watch the workshop live and participate in a chat. Both the video and chat can be found at the end of this article.

From budget documents to police reports, reporters have access to all sorts of information that is not available to the average citizen – right? That’s how they get those great stories?

Not exactly. By law, journalists have no more access to public documents than any citizen does. Most simply have a better understanding of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how to use it.

This session will help Citizen Journalists and average citizens learn the basics of their rights under “Sunshine Laws” such as FOIA and the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

It will answer such questions as:

Which meetings have to be open to the public?

How can I see budget, salary and contract information?

What if they tell me no?

Know your rights. If there are plans to cut down “your” woods for a commercial development, you can find out about that. If you think your neighbors’ taxes are lower than yours, you can check it out.

Come to “Citizen Journalists and FOIA,” presented by Dr. Carol Schlagheck, coordinator of the Eastern Michigan University Journalism Program, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, Heritage Community Media Lab, 215 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti.

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