Information is currency. Lots of currency.
Like many of you, the Nevada Current was curious about what caused former UNLV President Len Jessup to up and leave. Since we couldn’t get any satisfactory answers, we filed an information request for emails and other correspondence among Nevada Chancellor Thom Reilly and state regents.
The estimated price tag for the information we sought: $1200.
It used to be that government officials determined to conceal something from the public would attempt to circumvent the law by conversing via personal media accounts or devices. The Nevada Supreme Court recently put an end to that practice when it ruled personal phones and such are subject to the state’s open records law.
Now, government folk are opting to charge for the time and effort it takes to fulfill information requests, a practice that is sanctioned by law but infrequently employed.
Keep in mind most agencies employ a public information officer, a person whose job it is to disseminate information. It’s this person, who gets paid to gather information for the public and news media, who is likely fulfilling these information requests. In other words, government entities are charging news media outlets to utilize the services of the person paid to do just that work. In essence, news media are subsidizing government entities.
Nevada’s System of Higher Education reports 21 information requests so far this year. NSHE intended to charge for five of those requests – from a low of $45 to our quote of $1200.
The Current’s editor Hugh Jackson is a nice guy but he’s not inclined to shell out that kind of money so I can go fishing. Suffice to say, readers of this site will not be learning the details of what sent Jessup packing. Rich.
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