JOU 4181: Public Affairs Reporting

A guide for locating public information in Florida.

Welcome to the Library Guide for JOU 4181: Public Affairs Reporting

This guide will assist you in locating public records for your class JOU 4181 - Public Affairs Reporting.  When you first begin searching for public records, you will probably be surprized by the wide range of information that is available, without cost, on the Internet.  You will probably also be surprized to find out that there is also a wide range of information that is available, at no cost to you, but only if you are willing to go to the city or county office that collects and maintains that information. 

You will also find that there is information, that most people think should be available to the public, that actually isn't available, at any cost, due to privacy laws and regulations.  For the purpose of your class, you will be sucessful in locating more information than you probably ever imagined, as long as you have some guidance in locating that information.  Although often "Googling it" will lead you to the place that you want to be, there are clearer paths that will be far less frustrating for you and will, at the same time, help you hone your reporting skills.

The Florida Public Records Handbook (2nd Edition / 2003) is an excellent resource for finding public information in Florida.  Your class has been given copies of pertinent chapters from this book by your professor, Gil Thelen. The information and links included in this handbook may be out-of-date but the notes and tips included throughout the handbook will provide you with addtional background on the type of public records that are available.

There are two copies of the Florida Public Records Handbook in the USF Tampa Library. One copy is in the Reference Collection (located on the first Floor) and the other copy is available at the Reserve Desk (3-hour loan). 

The Florida public records handbook : how to find the most useful public information in Florida

by Joe Adams ; edited by Mark Middlebrook & Barbara A. Petersen.

Author: Adams, Joe

Published: Tallahassee, Fla. : First Amendment Foundation, 2003.

USF LIBRARY--Tampa Reference Collection                            

KFF462.6.A25 A33 2003

USF RESERVES--Tampa Reserve Desk

KFF462.6.A25 A33 2003

Florida Public Records - Government in the Sunshine

The (Florida) Public Records Act
Chapter 119, Florida Statutes - Last updated 1/14/11

Office of the Attorney General

The Florida Attorney General's Office produces the Government in the Sunshine Manual, an essential reference guide to open government meetings and records in Florida

Government in the Sunshine
The Office of the Attorney General maintains this web site so that all citizens of Florida have one place to go to access information on Florida's Open Government Laws.

Government in the Sunshine Manual
The electronic edition of the manual is an abridged version of the 2010 Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual and reflects changes to the statutes and caselaw which occurred prior to October 2009.

The Office of Open Government
The Office of Open Government is charged with providing both the Executive Office of the Governor and each of Florida’s agencies with the guidance and tools to serve Florida with integrity and transparency.

Request Public Records

This will route your public records request to the Office of the Governor. Once you submit the form, you will receive an electronic confirmation that your request has been received by the Governor's Office of Open Government.