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File a Public Records Request like a Journalist

Can I get traffic camera footage of my car accident? How many building code violations does my new landlord have? How do I find out what local elected officials are doing?

The staff of Spokane Public Radio, Range Media and the reporters of the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists teamed up to teach members of the community how.

Public records power much of the work you see at Spokane Public Radio, RANGE, and other newsrooms. We use them to find and learn vital things about our local governments and the people who run them. But the right to public records isn’t unique to journalists — you have that right too.

In her presentation, Spokane Public Radio’s Rebecca White covered:

  • What the Washington Public Records Act is and what it covers
  • What is and isn’t a public record
  • How to make a records request that will get you the information you want
  • Which agency or office to make your request to

Those looking to file public records request should consider what local government entities they would like to know more about, such as Spokane County, Spokane Valley, the city of Spokane or maybe the Spokane Regional Health District. School districts are public entities too!

You can hear the full presentation above and view a slideshow with helpful tips here.

You can click the doc attachment below to download a sample public records request, and other resources.