Next generation Freedom of Information - from 'pull' to 'push': A comparative study

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Access to information remains a fundamental provision in the practice of journalism, regardless of the disruptive transformations currently being experienced by the profession and the industry. The quality of reportage is directly linked to the quality of un-spun information journalists can access. This is the second article in a series describing the evolution of Freedom of Information (FOI). The first paper outlined the historical roots of FOI and summarised some of the research to date (Lidberg, 2013). This second article reports on a pilot project comparing a first-generation FOI law with an amended and updated FOI system in Australia. The question posed in this project is: has the reform made a difference in practice? To answer this, a number of novice FOI users were asked to seek similar information in one pull FOI jurisdiction and one reformed push system. A diary method was employed and the findings indicated that the new-generation FOI regime delivered better and faster access. But it also became clear that FOI 2.0 demands more of its users in terms of web and IT literacy. The results also pointed to great discrepancies between agencies in how the information requests were interpreted and how the information was made available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 90
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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