NORTHEASTERN JOURNALISM STUDENTS PERFORMED THE LARGEST PUBLIC RECORDS AUDIT EVER CONDUCTED SAYS WCVB, CHANNEL 5 AND THE BOSTON GLOBE.
This was no ordinary journalism class research assignment. In partnership with The Boston Globe and WCVB-TV (Channel 5) and under the direction of journalism professor and WCVB investigative reporter Mike Beaudet, students in Beaudet’s Investigative Reporting class mailed requests for public records to 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. In most cases, the cities and towns either missed deadlines or didn’t respond to the students’ repeated requests. Because of weak public records laws, the cities and towns will likely face no penalties for their lack of compliance. The students’ public records research was reported in The Globe in an article by Todd Wallack. The article, “Most localities in state fail test on records law,” appeared on the front page of The Sunday Globe on December 27.
Students who worked on the story were undergraduates Alec Cheung, Ben Thompson and Janine Eduljee and graduate student Emily Turner. The video featured in The Boston Globe article was shot by Aren LeBrun, Ben Thompson and Beaudet. The story was aired on WCVB Channel 5 on the 11 p.m. news on December 27.