News Journalism is relentless, unforgiving and indefinitely demanding, but after just starting my stint as Investigative Reporter for our University based local news website, an unsuspecting source of news has emerged as a worthwhile tool in my armoury.

Freedom of Information, here, here. The Act established in 2000 to allow the public to request previously untendered information from private/public authorities and to ask curious questions, which perhaps had just been nagging away at you, can now give you an unprecedented answer. After all, we have a statutory right to receive a response.

In spite of myself, still trying and testing the mercurial ways of working of the FOI rule, I’ve already conjured up various interesting facts and figures. The difficulty, indeed arrives when attempting to process these clustered statistics into a valid news story. That one, of which I’m still working on to an extent.

One invaluable piece of advice I have received in terms of utilising the FOI to my advantage has come from acclaimed FOI Expert Heather Brooke. The American born journalist who broke the MP’s expenses scandal via an information request replied to my e-mail offering me some inspirational advice, to basically keep going at it.

It was great to be in touch with one of journalism’s leading FOI exploiters and subsequent to reading her book ‘Your Right To Know’ it has taught me some wise lessons.

Here’s hoping to a successful semester for me, hopefully, until the Christmas break. Wish me luck.