All of us have the right to know what our government is doing. You don't have to be a journalist or other professional watchdog to assert that right.
To access public information, though, it's necessary to know whom to ask and how to frame the question. Fortunately, there are lots of guides and resources available.
At www.nfoic.org/foi-center, for instance, the National Freedom of Information Coalition offers sample letters for filing requests for federal, state or local records. That group has affiliates in every state, including the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, whose website is www.indianacog.org.
Go to SunshineWeek.org, operated by the American Society of News Editors, for more information on how educators, civic groups, public officials and private citizens can get involved in the effort to shine light on all levels of government.