Our View: A fund for FOIAs

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Requests under the Freedom of Information Act can be expensive, and they’re not free for media companies – contrary to popular belief – when FOIAs are made to local or state governments. Only FOIAs to the federal government are free for media companies.

Our recent experience in relying on city residents to provide the Times with FOIAed documents pertaining to Seminary Road, for which they paid more than $500, has led us to believe our FOIAs need to be independent. We need to be the entity that decides the parameters for and submits the FOIAs that we use for our stories.

While that sounds good, the snag is money. For instance, just last week we submitted two additional FOIAs to the city pertaining to Seminary Road that cost $407. For a small newspaper, that’s a lot of money.

So we have established a FOIA Fund on GoFundMe that will enable people to contribute to the Times’ investigative efforts. Donors won’t be able to direct our FOIA requests, and contributions won’t be tax deductible. But contributors will be helping us help the community.

If you’re interested in learning more, please go to: gf.me/u/xhdbgw

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