Here’s an interesting piece from Vanity Fair that describes the efforts of a coalition of media – one that includes The Austin American Statesman, The New York Times and the Associated Press – that has joined forces to pry lose records related to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.  The powers that be in Uvalde have been less than forthcoming with records related to the shooting.  This article explains why that’s a problem.

For starters, it forces new outlets to expend resources to obtain the information from other sources.  While that can lead to scoops, it doesn’t provide a comprehensive picture that might otherwise be the case if the government were more transparent.

In the absence of more robust production, the news leaks out in dribs and drabs.  And that selective leaking allows the government to control the narrative, rather than have the public arrive at its own conclusions.   That type of process is at best an incomplete telling of the story and at worst a disinformation campaign.

Laura Prather is the lawyer representing the coalition.  And while Laura is one of the nicest people I know, she is a tenacious defender of the First Amendment.  The folks in Uvalde will soon learn that if they have not already.

The VF article also points out the frustration that comes when government entities hold back records and force court action.  Very rarely do things happen fast in court.  It may be a year or more before all of the records come out, and the news value will be diminished.  But it is worth the fight. I love this quote from Kim Murphy, deputy National editor for the New York Times, who says “we kind of need to make a point.”