EDITOR’S NOTE — As a member service and as part of the WVPA Freedom of Information Act effort, the WVPA offers this sample design for your FOIA requests. If you have questions, contact the WVPA.
Downloadable: FOIA Form
Public Official’s Office
Town, WV, zip
Date: xx/xx/xx (Request No. 1)
Hello, (Public Official)
This is a request under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, state code 29-B-1-1. As (title – publisher/editor/reporter) of the (your publication), I request that a copy of the following documents (or documents containing the following information) be provided to me:
(Outline the information requested: Be very specific about what you want. The clearer the request, the more likely you are to get the information in a timely manner; Understand that public officials do not have to create a document that does not exist or create reports that haven’t be generated; Offer to discuss the request by telephone to explain your interest and request.)
If there are fees related to this request and you estimate that the fees will exceed $xx, please inform me first.
I do, however, request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to (your publication) is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.
In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a journalist, a representative of (your newspaper) in West Virginia, that (your newspaper) is a member of the West Virginia Press Association, and that this request is made as part of newsgathering and not for a commercial use. This request is made to gather data that will be used in news reports.
The W.Va. Freedom of Information Act requires a response to this request be made within five business days. If access to the records I am requesting will take more than this amount of time, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the records.
If you deny and or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.