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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Want to Get Inspired Today?

Then check out the Student Press Law Center's excellent series of interviews with student journalists and their teachers...

Humboldt State University's investigative reporting class had hit a wall. In January they embarked on an investigation into mental health within the Humboldt County Jail by researching the life and death of James Lee Peters, a Native American man who in August committed suicide while in the jail.
After repeated phone calls and endless interview requests, the class was met only with silence.

"No one felt they could talk about it," said Marcy Burstiner, the professor who led the class. "No one was blocking them, but no one was helping them out."

Not knowing where else to turn, the class began digging through public records. They filed California Public Record Act requests with Atascadero State Hospital and petitioned the District Attorney to open Peters' files.

As the class pored over court transcripts, physiological reports and procedural policies, they began to piece Peters' life together. In doing so, they shed light on the deteriorating state of mental health services within the county jail.

Check out the interview here.

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