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Reporter's Rights/Media Law

This section includes a variety of sites addressing First Amendment law, and other media legal topics, such as taping laws and freedom of information.

Please let the Institute know about links that do not work, or about sources we should add. If a resource here helped you in covering a story, please let us know by emailing al.cross@uky.edu.


U.S. Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act, FOIA
This site provides a revised reference guide on FOIA, along with attachments, which include who to contact for FOIA requests at federal agencies and descriptions of recent litigation.

Society of Professional Journalists, http://spj.org/foi.asp
SPJ has resources, such as an FOIA toolkit and an FOIA committee, to support open records and open government and help journalists who can't get access to records.

Public Records Online Directory
, http://www.netronline.com/public_records.htm
This site has a collection of state and local government websites that allow the public to retrieve open records through the Internet.

OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition of journalists, consumer and good government groups, environmentalists, labor and others that seek to make the federal government more open and hold it accountable for complying with the Freedom of Information Act.


First Amendment Center, http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/
The FAC has a collection of headlines and editorials about first amendment issues, and has resources for investigating recent First Amendment cases and First Amendment programs.

Media Access, http://www.mediaaccess.org/
Media Access is a "non-profit, public interest telecommunications law firm" that defends the First Amendment rights of the broadcast media.

Prometheus Radio Project
, http://www.prometheusradio.org/
PRP offers "legal, technical and organizational support" to noncommercial community broadcasters.

Center for Media and Democracy, http://www.prwatch.org/
"The nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy works to strengthen democracy by promoting media that are 'of, by and for the people.'" That includes a PR watch, a daily report on spin in the news, and SourceWatch, a directory of people shaping the news.


Poynter Online, http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=86429
This site goes to Al Tompkin's telephone taping checklist, with general laws to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to tape a conversation.

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, http://www.rcfp.org/taping/
This site provides a state-by-state guide on taping laws, a list of citations for cases on taping, and information about other faq's like taping cellular phone conversations and taping interstate phone calls.


Martindale-Hubbell, http://www.martindale.com/
This site has a lawyer locator. Find a lawyer by location, firm or practice.

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues helps non-metropolitan media define the public agenda in their communities, through strong reporting and commentary on local issues and on broader issues that have local impact. Its initial focus area is Central Appalachia, but as an arm of the University of Kentucky it has a statewide mission, and it has national scope. It has academic collaborators at Appalachian State University, East Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgia College and State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Marshall University, Middle Tennessee State University, Ohio University, Southeast Missouri State University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Washington and Lee University, West Virginia University and the Knight Community Journalism Fellows Program at the University of Alabama. It is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Kentucky, with additional financial support from the Ford Foundation. To get notices of Rural Blog postings and other Institute news, click here.


Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues
School of Journalism and Telecommunications, College of Communications & Information Studies
122 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042
Phone 859-257-3744 - Fax 859-323-3168

Al Cross, director al.cross@uky.edu