FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Most journalists support "release-to-one-release-to-all" policy, according to survey

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Report on survey of journalists' views on "release to one, release to all" FOIA policy

By Adam Marshall, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Aug. 31, 2016

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is publishing the results of its survey of journalists on the "release to one, release to all" policy under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). More than 100 self-identified journalists responded to the survey.

Respondents to the survey were generally in favor of a “release to one, release to all” policy if it is implemented with a delay between release to the requester and release to the public. While a quarter of respondents supported the policy unconditionally, almost 60% support it only with conditions, such as a delay period.

Many journalists indicated that they believe there would be detrimental effects if others can immediately access records they receive in response to a FOIA request. In particular, if a third party is allowed to “scoop” the results of those efforts, not only do the incentives for filing FOIA requests decline, but the quality of stories might suffer.

Read more here.