The Portland Record is a civic data and news site focused on analysis, stories, visualization and collaborative journalism in Portland, Oregon. The site will launch later this year, but the first project we worked on, with The Portland Tribune, ran a few months ago. You can also read more about our founder, Jacob Fenton.
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Are you a public information or records officer evaluating whether a records request from The Portland Record is eligible for a fee waiver? The laws on this vary by jurisdiction, but the folks working on TPR have a long record of accountability and public service journalism at the federal, state and local level. Our public records work has led to policy change, federal investigations and prison time for elected officals.
We often focus on comprehensive datasets, generally in digital format, to get a better perspective on the whole story, rather than focusing on just a few isolated incidents. While we're always happy to discuss requests--and modifications that you think might streamline processing--we often don't disclose the nature of a project before it is published. We're happy to give you an idea of what we think a story's "flavor" will be, but need to stress that our work follows the data--not any preconceived notion of what we think it might say.
One of the ways we cover ongoing issues is with self-updating "news apps". We're interested in amplifying this work by partnering with local news outlets interested in running our apps online, or examining the underlying data. We've built custom news apps for paying clients for years and would consider building proprietary news apps with the right partner; however, we're most interested in developing resources and data sets that can be shared or republished at little or no cost. We're still working on license terms, but public interest work we create will be reusable for most content producers.
TPR founder Jacob Fenton is a veteran of more than a decade of collaborative reporting, data work for media clients, and tool-building in the nonprofit investigative space. If you're an established reporter and have an idea for an analytical or data-heavy story that requires just a bit of technical assistance, The Portland Record may be able to help on a free or subsidized bases--please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're still figuring out the details of how this will work, but we've often worked on projects in one of two modes: as an editorial partner, where the story runs on everyone's web site and the data and analysis are publicly posted, or as a paid contributor, where the reporting, associated visualizations or web apps and technical IP belongs to the partner. We're generally willing to be creative about collaborative projects.
Mainstream media has often been too dismissive of work from nonjournalists with expertise in a domain relevant to news. The Portland Record believes expert analysis from community members is a largely untapped resource. Our mission involves investing time, software and analysis on issues where a community member--rather than a staff member--is the expert. If you're knowledgeable in an area that you think local news has botched, we'd love to hear from you. While we steer clear of agenda-driven grievances, if there's relevant information our city is missing, we will do what it takes to get it into publishable form.
The Portland Record is a fiscally sponsored project of MuckRock, a nonprofit devoted to helping the public file and manage public records requests. MuckRock provides financial oversight and technical assistance, but all editorial decisions are made by TPR. Donations are tax deductible; please get in touch with us at email@example.com and we can provide additional details.