Freedom of Information: A citizen's guide to fighting secret government - Page 6

Local and national organizations that offer a wide range of resources for journalists, citizen activists, and hell-raisers

(510) 809-3160,

The fourth edition of the Investigative Reporters' Handbook ($61, $51 for Investigative Reporters and Editors members), by Steve Weinberg, Brant Houston, and Len Bruzzese, is a comprehensive and accessible guide for novice and experienced journalists that shows how to locate and use more than 500 sources of public information. (573) 882-3364,

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press supplies a wealth of publications on public access and other First Amendment topics. How to Use the Federal FOI Act ($5) is a handbook on FOI rights, with instructions for appealing if your request is denied, and includes sample letters. The First Amendment Handbook ($7.50) is a journalist's pocket guide to FOI issues. Two guides — Judicial Records: A Guide to Access ($3) and Access to Electronic Records ($5) — analyze state laws and decisions regarding access to legal records and government electronic data. Tapping Officials' Secrets is a set of guides to state public records and open-meeting laws ($10 a state). The News Media and the Law is a quarterly magazine that includes updates on legislation pertinent to FOI ($30 a year for four issues). Some of these publications are available in their entirety online; all can be ordered online. 1-800-336-4243,

The second edition of Law of the Student Press ($18) is a vital handbook for student newspapers. It's extensively annotated but avoids legalese and tries to bring the law to life for students and educators. The Student Press Law Center also publishes Covering Campus Crime, Third Edition ($2) and the Student Press Law Center Report ($15 for three issues a year). (703) 807-1904,

Citizen Muckraking: How to Investigate and Right Wrongs in Your Community ($9) offers advice on writing press releases, conducting interviews, and using the FOIA. The book, a collaborative effort by the Center for Public Integrity, is available through Common Courage Press. 1-800-497-3207,