JOU 4181: Public Affairs Reporting

Freedom of Information

First Amendment Foundation
"The First Amendment Foundation is a highly visible and accessible source of authoritative information, expertise, and assistance to the public and news media. It was founded as a non-profit organization in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure that public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government do not become checked and diluted during Florida’s changing times

Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Florida "The Brechner Center answers queries about media law from journalists, attorneys, and other members of the public. The Center is prepared to explain issues relating to media law, react to current developments, offer speakers for meetings and classes, and assist in research about media law."

Ten Practical Tips for Requesting Public Records

Florida has a well-deserved reputation for allowing the public access to most government records. But that reputation does not mean the right of access is always easy to assert. Here is the link to ten practical tips that can help open up public records.

Sample Public Records Request

Sample Public Records Request   

A public records request does not have to be made in writing.  You may submit a request electronically by using the request form on the Governor's Office of Open Government's page.   Online Public Records Request

Be advised that all email communications are also public record, so if you prefer to make a written request, the following letter can be used as a model. Simply fill in the appropriate date, address, and salutation, and describe the records you are requesting.

To Whom It May Concern,

Pursuant to Article I, section 24, of the Florida Constitution, and [select the corresponding legal citation: chapter 119, F.S. for state agency or local government; s. 11.0431, F.S. for legislative records; or Rule 2.051, Fla. Rules of Judicial Administration for judicial records], I am requesting [select: INSPECTION and/or COPIES] of the following public records: [describe the records you are requesting.] Should you deny my request, or any part of the request, please state in writing the basis for the denial, including the exact statutory citation authorizing the denial, as required by s. 119.07(1)(d), F.S. [The phrase, "as required by s. 119.07(1)(d), F.S." should be deleted from requests for legislative or judicial records.]

I will contact your office within [select a specific period of time: 24 hours; 48 hours; one week; etc.] to discuss when I may expect fulfillment of my request, and payment of any statutorily prescribed fees. If you have any questions in the interim, you may contact me at [fill in a telephone number where you can be reached.] Thank you.


Note: Sample request letter from Florida's First Amendment Foundation's website at 


Florida Society of News Editors (FNSE)

Florida Society of News Editors

The Florida Society of News Editors is dedicated to advancing the cause of responsible journalism in Florida.

Useful Links from the Florida Society of News Editors

Links from FSNE

Links from Florida...

In Florida:  

Brechner Center for Freedom of Information

First Amendment Foundation

Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Florida International University School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Florida Press Association

Florida Press Club

Poynter Institute

University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

University of Miami School of Communication

University of South Florida School of Mass Communications

Florida Society of News Editors Blog

Keep up to date with the latest posts from the Florida Society of News Editors Blog.

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