Leaks to the media

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

People who know things leak information to the media every day. It’s a given. It’s how business gets done in in that weird, symbiotic relationship between the media and the governments they cover. Leaking information to journalists will never go away. Governments will continue to threaten leakers – except the leakers they sanction. Murray Brewster of the CBC talks about …

So you think you’re accountable?

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

I submit a few Access to Information requests every week on behalf of clients. This is a law that allows any Canadian citizen, permanent resident or corporation to ask for records from most federal departments and agencies. The law itself is outdated (it was passed when I was in high school and has yet to see substantive revisions) and riddled …

A few of my favorite databases

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

This is just a short post on some of the common sources I use to verify Canadian historical information. Number 1 is The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. The database includes revision information for each entry which is helpful. Most folks have to be long dead to be included in the DCB, but exceptions are made for the very famous such …

The value of libraries and archives to journalists

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I attended the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Journalists last week and had the opportunity to speak on a panel on the joy that is libraries and archives. I was very encouraged to see most chairs were filled for our panel because we imparted some fine wisdom.  In a nutshell my contribution to the discussion was to remind the …

Chases Calendar of Events

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I just listened to this Planet Money podcast by NPR. It was a great episode – hunting for the origins of weird holidays like “National Potato Day” or “National Splurge Day”. Their sleuthing took them to Chicago and the publisher of a fine old reference book Chase’s Calendar of Events. I cannot remember if I first came across Chase’s in …

Work culture

Kirsten Smith My Blog 0 Comments

A very smart colleague, Scott Attenborough, sent this article around the AIIP list a few days ago. (AIIP is a professional association we both belong to – the Association of Independent Information Professionals. An excellent network for info pros…..but I digress…)   The piece is timely for me because for the past several weeks I’ve been struggling to stay focused when …

When ATIP redactions are silly

Kirsten Smith My Blog 2 Comments

The feature photo belongs to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. Go check them out. The creaky, outdated Canadian Access to Information Act. A piece of legislation so riddled with loopholes and exemptions, it’s a wonder it works at all. I shouldn’t say that. There are many bureaucrats in government departments in this town who sincerely believe in government openness and do …