As shameless as it sometimes feels to celebrate awards, it’s also true that journalists are underpaid, underappreciated, and in some cases even relentlessly harassed because of their work.
OUR YEAR IN NEWS + FEATURES: FROM HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS, TO THE POLICE STATE, TO TRANSPORTATION
As we strive to communicate every time our keyboards get clicking, the stories we bring you in DigBoston is either news you aren’t getting elsewhere, or the people’s version of the capitalist rubbish found in mainstream media. And man oh man, we unearthed a lot of those critical hidden nuggets in the past 12 months.
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT PUBLIC RECORDS ACCESS UNDER NEW MASS LAW
I’ve recently run into back-to-back critical failures that threaten the ability of requesters, be they media or private citizens, to even obtain records at all, let alone obtain them in a timely manner.
OPERATION INTIMIDATION IN THE MERRIMACK VALLEY
A noise complaint in Haverhill might lead to an armored truck on your doorstep
EXPECT DELAYS: IN MASS, WE NOW HAVE TO WAIT MONTHS FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION REQUESTS
The fact is that the update makes it easy and legal for agencies to delay for months and leaves it entirely possible that any agency or municipality can lawfully delay providing records indefinitely.
GENDER CONFINEMENT: MASS DOC CONTENDS IT CAN DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER INMATES
Why does the DOC believe it is allowed to house transgender people in the wrong gender facility?
QUINCY LIES: MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS GARISHLY FLOUT MASS PUBLIC RECORDS LAW
They repeated these falsehoods to Kane-McGunigle, us, the Boston Globe, and to Galvin’s office.
FOIA-BLES: CRITICAL MASS RECORDS REFORM BILL TAKES TWO STEPS FORWARD AND ONE STEP BACK
If the best parts of the Senate bill survive and the worst provisions in the House bill are scrapped, then the Massachusetts public records law might become a little bit less broken.
THE SECRETARY OF SECRECY: A NEW COLUMN ABOUT PUBLIC RECORDS REFORM IN MASS, AND JUST IN TIME
There are a few possible solutions. One would be giving Galvin’s office more power to enforce the law. Another would be to streamline the process by eliminating Galvin’s role entirely and having the AG’s office handle the process from start to finish.
STATE SECRETS: THERE AREN’T ANY PUBLIC RECORDS—ONLY RECORDS THE COMMONWEALTH HASN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO DECLARING EXEMPT YET
All things considered, the supervisor of records needs to be removed regardless of whether the current push for an update to the public records law passes.