The Story Behind the Stories

Purpose of the Project

2007 marks the 30th anniversary of The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. To commemorate the event, the Center conducted an in-depth project, called “The Story Behind the Stories.” The project recognizes Florida newspapers, their staff, and the use of freedom of information laws in hard-hitting investigative journalism. The stories selected reflect superior efforts in demanding public information and the benefits of ensuring an open government.

The Story Behind the Stories project was guided by three objectives:

(1) To evaluate which public information stories that have most impacted Florida;

(2) To provide an in-depth, candid look at how the journalists, government officials, and citizens worked in handling the stories;

(3) To educate and train the public on freedom of information and its many uses, and provide support to citizens in exercising the right to information.

The stories selected for inclusion in the "Top 30" demonstrated the significant benefits of open government.  The journalists who wrote them were innovative in exercising the right to access government meetings and/or records, and their efforts impacted the community. 

The Top 30 stories and their authors are featured on this Web site in a multi-media presentation.  Through a personal interview with the journalists who wrote each piece, visitors have an opportunity to learn “the story behind the stories.”  Their stories serve to motivate and educate journalists, students, and citizens about the importance of exercising the right to make Freedom of Information requests.

The project was unveiled at the Florida Freedom of Information Summit on Sept. 21, 2007 in Gainesville, Florida where the top 30 stories and their authors were recognized.  The conference focused on freedom of information and its importance to journalists, government officials, media lawyers, students, and citizens.  More information on the conference is available on the Brechner Center Web site at Brechner.org.

Since 1977, The Brechner Center has served as a resource, education center, and clearinghouse for freedom of information issues.  The Center has guided and assisted many journalists, students, attorneys, and citizens in their quest to understand freedom of information laws and ensure an open government.