Comments on the ATIA News Story Index database

 

 

The ATIA News Story Index is an incredible resource of the news stories produced by journalists and others using Canadaís access to information law. It not only showcases the invaluable role this law has played in generating some of the most probing news stories over the last 35 years. It should also serve as an incubator for news story ideas for up-and-coming journalists.

 

-       Toby Mendel, lawyer, executive director, Centre for Law and Democracy, Halifax

 

This is an enormously useful initiative. For years, many in the right to information community have noted a need to do a better job of explaining to the public why transparency mechanisms are so important. This database helps to demonstrate to the world what journalists, civil society advocates, and virtually everyone else who works in the public accountability business knows: that a robust right to information is critical to supporting strong public oversight over our institutions of governance.

 

- Michael Karanicolas, lawyer, Wikimedia Fellow, Yale Law School

 

Nowhere will you find a more complete collection of evidence that so clearly demonstrates how access to government records matters to real people, good governance, and democracy. Stanley Trompís compilation is a treasure trove for journalists looking for story ideas, and more importantly, provides definitive proof to the entire world that access to information laws work, that they must be protected, and that they must be improved.

- David Cuillier, associate professor, University of Arizona School of Journalism, and president, U.S. National Freedom of Information Coalition

 

Too few reporters use FOI laws, and those hardy souls who do venture down that path can quickly sour on the process. Governments have tremendous power over information, and will not willingly relinquish it, no matter what a transparency law requires. Journalists struggle in a grossly unequal war of attrition, as legions of public servants search for excuses to deny and delay.

 

Stanley Tromp's heroic work reminds us - not just those in the news business but all Canadians - that dedicated journalists have never given up the fight and have sometimes emerged victorious. They have uncovered stories of corruption, fraud, incompetence, waste, threats to health and safety, and more. Those stories are gathered here as a reminder of the importance of this branch of journalism, as a morale booster to weary reporters, and surely as inspiration to new generations to take up the struggle themselves. Thank you, Stanley, for this monumental undertaking.

 

-       Dean Beeby, former CBC and Canadian Press FOI journalist

 

Stanley Tromp is one of Canada's foremost advocates for access to information.This database is an excellent resource for anyone who is working to advance the ideal of open government.

 

- Alasdair Roberts, lawyer, Director, School of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

 

The ATIA News Story Index is a great and inspiring resource for anyone who is unfamiliar with Canadaís access to information system, or familiar with it and frustrated by its many loopholes and flaws.   It not only highlights the hard work that many journalists have done using the system (flawed as it is) to reveal information government institutions were trying to hide, it also points to many other situations and institutions in Canada that need to be investigated in the same way, and also reveals the many loopholes and flaws in the system that need to be corrected.

-       Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch

 

This is fantastic stuff Stanley. Thanks so much for compiling it.

-       Sean Holman, associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University

 

Great work, Stanley! These records serve as a "morale booster" for those of us who struggle to keep using ATI while trying to pass along its virtues -- warts and all -- to a new generation of journalists.  Thanks for sharing these wonderful resources. They provide proof that the system can work. 

 

-       David McKie, CBC reporter and journalism professor, Carleton University

 

 

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