Oklahoma Daily Has Filed 147 Open Records Requests So Far This Year– See Them All on Its Website

The Oklahoma Daily at the University of Oklahoma has filed 147 open records requests so far this calendar year.  On a separate page of its website, the paper features a brief description of each request, the rationale behind the request, the name of the staffer who filed it, the date it was filed, and its status.

The available information is part of a larger transparency effort put in place by the Daily last November.  As top staff explained in an editorial at the time, “The average citizen won’t often check a committee’s minutes or a politician’s phone records, but these freedoms allow the press to do it for you and to engage in the reporting that uncovers and stops abuses of power. . . . So from now on, we’ll be watching. We’ll be filing more requests for access to significant records so we can fulfill our role by give you the information you need to intelligently wield your political power.  And we’ll be keeping a running tally on the front page of our recent requests . . . to help keep the open records office accountable and openly demonstrate our commitment to this responsibility.”

A quick scroll through the requests provides a fascinating glimpse at what an A-list student media outlet at a big-time public university is most interested in exploring.

Among the records requested by the Daily in 2012: the full contract of head football coach Bob Stoops; the .xxx domain names purchased by the university (an effort undertaken by many schools to buy up potentially brand-damaging addresses); state health department inspections of Greek houses; the contract between the university and Turnitin.com; the number of students cited for inappropriate campus Wi-Fi use; the results of football players’ drug tests; the university president’s travel schedule; and costs related to dealing with squirrels on campus.  Alas, there were no records for the latter request.

I’ve reached out to Daily editor-in-chief Laney Ellisor via email for insight into the success of the paper’s requests-based reporting.

Comments are closed.