The Power of Public Records

This upcoming Webinar will be broadcast on:
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 2:00pm Eastern Time Enroll Now
Can't attend the live Webinar? We'll have an archived replay available soon after the live session. Your registration will give you access to the replay plus our bonus resources.

Course Overview

The Power of Public Records
Time Estimate:
One hour for the main presentation and questions. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

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About Webinars

In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

Data and documents talk when others won’t. They tell the truth when others lie. They let you see the big picture, protect you and lead you to real humans you can interview.

In this webinar, we’ll explore ways you can use records to inject authority into on-the-ground reporting. We’ll also talk about what kinds of records exist and how to get them.

What Will I Learn:
  • How public data and documents can pack power into an interview-driven story
  • How to navigate local, state and federal records laws
  • How to troubleshoot denied requests
  • How to get into a records routine
  • How others have used records in creative ways to cover universities
  • How to think outside the box if a record isn’t public
Who Should Take this Course:

This webinar is an introduction to what’s possible with public records, geared toward reporters, digital producers, bloggers, storytellers and anyone who is interested in digging into information that is readily available.

Course Instructor:

Alexandra Zayas

Alexandra Zayas is an investigative reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. In 2013, she won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and the America’s Promise Journalism Award for Action for her yearlong, three-part series “In God's Name,” which uncovered abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes across Florida. Zayas has taught classes at the Poynter Institute about developing sources and telling untold stories.

Technical Requirements:

1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows 7 or Windows 8
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

1.5 Mbits/sec up and down. We strongly suggest viewing our webinars with a wired connection.

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This webinar contains audio. Please adjust your headphones or speakers.

Questions? Read our webinar FAQ or contact us at

You can watch our live webinars on your iPad with a free Adobe Connect app. To watch webinar replays, your iPad must be able to view Flash media players. The live webinar experience on your iPad is very similar to watching it from your computer. You can watch the video, follow the presentation, respond to polling questions, ask the presenter questions and participate in any discussion forums.

Download the free Adobe Connect app from iTunes here. To access the live event, click on the "Join Live Event Now" button on the webinar landing page. The virtual room will automatically load. Viewing recorded webinars on iOS devices is not currently supported.