January 23, 2022

New Report: “Survey of Journalists’ Views on ‘Release to One, Release to All’ Under Federal Freedom of Information Act”

The survey findings were released today by the Reporters Committee For the Freedom of the Press (RCFP).

Intro From RCFP Announcement:

2016-08-31_10-42-27The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is publishing the results of its survey of journalists on the “release to one, release to all” policy under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More than 100 self-identified journalists responded to the survey.

Respondents to the survey were generally in favor of a “release to one, release to all” policy if it is implemented with a delay between release to the requester and release to the public. While a quarter of respondents supported the policy unconditionally, almost 60% support it only with conditions, such as a delay period.

Many journalists indicated that they believe there would be detrimental effects if others can immediately access records they receive in response to a FOIA request. In particular, if a third party is allowed to “scoop” the results of those efforts, not only do the incentives for filing FOIA requests decline, but the quality of stories might suffer.

At the same time, respondents identified a number of potential benefits of a public release policy, including increased access to federal records for those with limited resources, eliminating duplicative requests, and having experts in different subject areas analyze the same records. Many also expressed doubt that access to records requested under FOIA alone would enable other reporters to scoop a story.

Read the Complete Announcement/News Release

Direct to Full Text Report: Survey of Journalists’ Views on ‘Release to One, Release to All’ Under Federal Freedom of Information Act (12 pages; PDF)

See Also: CSV File of Data Used to Create Report

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.