I can't say enough about the value of getting and going through otherwise-routine public records on a routine basis. You could glean that from any number of sessions here at the conference, but I'm inferring it again from the excellent session by Jim Neff and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times about their series, "Victory and Ruins." This is always vindicating to hear -- especially given the very bad memory I have from a few years ago, when our then-top boss banned us from FOIAing any records in any instance in which we did not already have a specific tip or allegation of explicit wrongdoing. That edict, many Salt Mine readers will recall, nearly made my head explode. But it's great to come to IRE and hear the word preached -- it is like going to church, in the religion of journalism -- and my head is un-exploding now. Can I get an "amen"?
NOTE: I went through this post on Sunday and updated it to fix some typos and add some links.