7 lessons from BuzzFeed’s ‘FOIA-friendly newsroom’

"If BuzzFeed reporters are having trouble getting records, they can turn to Nabiha Syed, the company's assistant general counsel. She often handles the tough public records cases, including negotiations and appeals when requests are denied.

“Lawyers should be the bad cop, and you should be good cop,” she said. Syed writes “very formal” appeals letters to agencies and often includes case law to back up her arguments, a tactic that she says has been successful.

“It’s pretty fun for me to work on things that end up being the backbone of a story,” she said. “To see the stories that have won awards, many had public records at their heart.”"